“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”

Eleanor Roosevelt


One of the best ways to create a happier life for yourself is to make other people happier, and sometimes it’s the little things that go a long way. Try it by picking just one of the 21 things below and see how it can positively affect someone in your life.

1.     Give a sincere compliment. Many positive things tend to go unsaid, so mention to someone how well they’re doing, or how great they look, and it will put a smile on their face.

2.    Let someone into your lane while you’re driving. It’s a simple kind gesture that can unstress his or her day quite a bit, and if you don’t drive, move aside when walking to let someone walking quickly behind you pass through.

3.    Hold the door open for a few extra seconds for someone. It doesn’t take much of an effort, and it’s thoughtful of the other person.

4.    Express your gratitude for actions taken for granted. We may sometimes take what others do for granted: for example, their everyday behaviour and actions that are helpful or kind to us. Take a second to show your gratitude and how important they are to you.

5.    Bake, make and share. Get baking or cooking and share with others. You’ll enjoy the making part and everyone will enjoy the sharing part! 

6.    Get creative with little homemade gifts. DIY gifts can be personalised and are meaningful. It’ll bring joy to the person receiving, and yourself whilst making it!

7.    Pay for someone’s cup of coffee. See someone fumbling with change in front of you in the queue? Make their day happier and give them the change they need, or ask the person behind you what they’re ordering and pay it for them. 

8.   Encourage.  Encourage someone who is in a negative situation at the moment. Stay optimistic and offer a grounded perspective on a friend’s situation. Be sure that what you say will lessen his or her worries.

9.  Autumn leaves in doorways?  Sweep up the leaves in your neighbour’s doorway as well as your own. 

10.  Help people who seem lost. See someone on the street with their phone or map out looking lost? Go over and ask if they need directions.

11.   Help out practically with advice. If a friend needs some help, show an interest in their situation and offer advice when it’s needed.

12.  Going to a friend’s house? Surprise them with flowers to brighten their home for a few days.  

13. Give a hug. Of course only when appropriate, but giving someone a hug shows compassion. Research says we need eight hugs a day!

14.  Cook a friend, housemate’s or partner’s favourite food if they have had a bad day. Or just get them their favourite takeaway / treat. This can really cheer them up when it’s just one of those days.

15.  Got a spare few minutes in your day to click on a website? By clicking and playing the game on this website, you will donate 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme per click AND improve your vocabulary.

16.  Help someone today. Pick up something they dropped, help someone carry their suitcases, help an elderly person cross the road or buy some food or water for a homeless person.

17.  Run an errand or do one chore for someone. Offer to go to the post office for them, or wash their plate for them. It can really help someone out, especially if they’re having a hectic day. 

18.  Just listen. Sometimes all someone needs is a listener. Really listen and concentrate on what they’re saying.

19. Bring a cup of tea or coffee the way that person likes it. Take note and make an extra special cup of tea or coffee to brighten someone’s day.

20. Hide a secret note for him or her to find. Hide some kind words in a friend, family member or partner’s coat pocket.

21.  Smile! Smiles are contagious, so smile to others. Go the extra mile by drawing a smile on a piece of paper, fold it, and give it to the next person you see.