At times, it can be difficult to think of ways to give back to others. You want to make a difference, but how? Do you volunteer at another organization? Add more money to your donation? The options can feel endless… and overwhelming.
If you strive to live an altruistic lifestyle, there are lots of ways to serve others, and most of them don’t have to be grandiose or extravagant. They’re simply conscious, selfless decisions during day-to-day activities. Even a small gesture can have a huge influence on the people around you. Here are a few ideas of some easy things you can do to brighten someone’s day.
1. Share a compliment.
Compliments go a long way towards brightening someone’s day. Even a simple accolade, such as, “Your hair looks nice,” or, “You have such a fun personality” can change someone’s entire perspective for the day. If you notice something you like about a person, take the time to share it with them.
2. Pick up extra chores.
For your friends, family members or roommates, offer to pick up extra chores around the house. If you notice dirty dishes in the sink, clean them. Or, if you see that someone’s laundry is still in the dryer, offer to fold it. Chores can be exhausting, so taking something off someone’s plate can really make a difference.
3. Pay the bill.
Whether you’re out with loved ones or standing in line at a restaurant filled with strangers, cheer someone up by paying the bill. This doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive; even receiving a small meal for free is exciting. Spend a little money and go the extra mile to perk someone up.
4. Leave kind notes.
Similar to a compliment, but in note form! When was the last time you received a kind note—particularly a note from a stranger? See if you can leave a kind note for your loved one, or even someone random. For example, leave a sticky note on a public bathroom mirror for the next person to find.
5. Say thank you.
Gratitude makes a huge difference in someone’s day. If there’s a person in your life who helps you, supports you or who has made a difference, take a moment to simply say thank you. Send them a message, call or go for the handwritten note. Tell them the impact they’ve had and thank them for everything they’ve done.
6. Start a conversation.
Sometimes the best conversations are those random ones you experience with strangers in random places. Take a chance and step outside your comfort zone to start a conversation with someone new today. Who knows? You could be exactly what that person needed to brighten their day.
7. Give unexpected gifts.
We expect gifts on our birthdays and holidays, but what about all of the miscellaneous days in between? Make a difference in someone’s life by surprising them with a small, unexpected gift. This can be for your closest family member, the teacher at your school or even the barista you regularly see at the coffee shop.
Altruism means more than volunteering at a nonprofit or donating money. While these things matter, there are also lots of little activities you can do daily to make a difference. Consider these ideas and see how you can put them into action to brighten someone’s day.