15 Easy Ways To Spread Cheer
[First of all - does this title remind you of Buddy the elf? Is it just me? :) ]
I named my little piece of the internet "A Cheerful Life" for a specific reason. Not because my life is always cheerful - in fact, it's often quite the opposite! But because that exactly what I strive for it to be. Every minute, every hour, every day.
I am an optimist at heart. It's not always the thing that first pours from me, but it's really what's down in there. I desire and hope for happiness, contentment, harmony, and a close spiritual walk with God. I want to make things better. I want to leave people better than when I met them. My passion is to create and cultivate beauty. I want to love without boundaries, reservations or selfishness. I want to reflect my faith in all that I do, with humbleness.
These are the things that I feel like my life is supposed to be about. But I'm just a basic human like everyone else, and no matter how much I want to perpetuate these beliefs, I often end up doing, saying, and being all the "wrong" things.
So what can I do? How can I make things peaceful and cheerful when life is so daunting, depressing and/or utterly ridiculous?
My best advice, to myself and to others: be a blessing by spreading cheer around by your actions and words! Making someone smile and imparting a small difference in someone's life can not only positively effect that person, it can re-center you to a place of humbleness, gratefulness, and self assurance. It causes you to come to a place of perspective - where you can realize that life is bigger than your problems and your worries, while also reminding the others that there is still love and thoughtfulness in the world. It's a win-win for everyone!
Try it, I think you will like it! And it doesn't always have to be large gestures that will evoke warm fuzzy feelings. You might not have a lot of time or energy, but never fear - here are some small ideas you can incorporate into your day, easy peasy!
1. Post an inspirational picture or quote on social media.
Whether it's a funny anecdote, a Bible verse, or a self-motivating quote, post something to social media that will inspire and connect. Sometimes platforms like Facebook and Twitter get used for some terribly negative reasons. Choose to use your social platforms as a positive avenue to influence and encourage. They might scroll on by - or it might just strike a cord. You just never know! It's always worth the few seconds it takes to press "post".
2. Bake extra for your coworkers.
Baking some cookies for some after dinner dessert? Make some extra, and take them to the break room at work to share with your coworkers. They will be ate and they will be appreciated! And even if they aren't, you've done your part to try and make their day better. Yes, the effort does count!
3. Pay it forward.
How many times a week do you get coffee or grab a hamburger or fast food salad? I venture to say it's more than once. When you can, pay for the person behind you in line. Chances are the bill will be small, and you can definitely make someone's day. They may even pay it forward to the vehicle behind them.
4. Ask a friend or family member how their day is going.
Sounds so simple, doesn't it? There are so many days that I don't do this, or at least don't do it adequately. It's a relationship building gesture. It's important to maintain a level of care to the people around us that we cherish. Those dearest to you need to feel like someone cares about them, because it really is not always implied. Even if they don't want to expound on their troubles or the state of their day, they still will know that you are there for them. And that is so very important!
5. Give someone a small gift.
At random times in my life, I've had friends leave small things at my house or on my work desk. Even things as small as a candy bar have always filled my heart with gratitude. You never know what the people around you - even people you know and love - are going through, or what kind of day they are having. A new pair of comfy socks for your Mom, a small toy for your kids, an umbrella for a coworker in the rain, a bottle of water for your postal carrier, a snack for a homeless individual. All of it matters, no matter how small!
6. Donate in someone's name or pay someone's bill.
Blessings can come in so many forms! If you know someone in financial crisis, even paying a small electric or water bill can make a huge difference in their day. If the person has all they need, paying their bills might be a little odd. But they might would love to know that you donated to a cause important to them in their name. For example, if they are a former cancer survivor, donate some blankets to a chemo center, and then text them a picture of your good deed. Include a small heartfelt message to let them know you were doing it because of them!
7. Compliment 3 people every day.
People just want to be heard, noticed, and cared about. Let people know how awesome they are! Some say that complimenting someone's looks is superficial and offensive - I disagree! I think any positive compliment is acceptable. I would, however, encourage you to look at the person's character, and maybe what their strengths are. Complimenting people costs you nothing, and can be very powerful in making someone feel special and appreciated.
8. Put extra change in a vending machine.
How cool would it be to go for a snack or a drink, and find that it's already paid for, you just have to push the button?! I can hear myself internally screaming, "score!" Again, it takes just a small gesture to make someone smile.
There is seriously nothing more inviting and warm than a genuine smile. It not only makes you more beautiful, it can brighten a whole room! It is another action that costs you nothing, but says a whole lot about you. It makes people feel invited and valued. Smiles are contagious - you can't see someone smiling with genuine happiness and not smile back. It's the smallest of things, but I feel like one of the most powerful!
10. Keep a calendar of friend's birthdays & send cards.
I have always believed that people should be celebrated on their birthdays. Everyone deserves to feel extra special at least one day per year, and even something as small as mailing out a card can make them feel valued. What a great way to let people know that they are loved and appreciated.
11. Take care of yourself.
You can't love on other people and spread the cheer adequately if you don't take care of yourself - physically, but also mentally. Take the nap. Get the pedicure. Go to the therapist. Take the vacation. When your tank is full, you can share any extras with others, who's tanks might be waiting for a fill up! :)
12. Take an extra bag of dog food to the vet.
Or take extra food to the food pantry. Or drop off clothing at a women's shelter. Or any other giving thing! Show a generous heart in action! It will inspire people.
13. Express to someone you love them and/or appreciate them - right now.
In our age of texting, this has never been easier. If you appreciate someone, if you love them more than you can express, tell them! Don't wait another day. Let people know that they are special, important, and most of all that they are not forgotten! No one knows how much time there is left to say things that are important. Tell them today, spread some happy vibes!
14. Share information about your favorite charity or cause.
Another great use for social media! People may not end up sharing the passion for the charity or cause that is important to you, but perhaps it will encourage them to think about charitable causes that are dear to them. Even if they don't go that far, they at least see someone caring. It's important these days to witness such positivity!
15. Rise above.
This one is last, because it's not always "easy". Turning the other cheek, ignoring a look of slight, not returning the gossip, and walking away from adverse behavior [among other things] can be so difficult!!! But when we are dedicated to not reciprocating, perpetuating, or even responding to such negative behavior, we are doing our part to choose cheer over sadness, love over anger. It's not only a great example for our society, it takes big shoulders to shrug off pessimism ... be proud of yourself!
Carrying out some of these acts of cheer shows your immediate world so many things: your positivity, your hope, your faith. They show the gentleness and goodness of humanity, and most of all, they show the characteristics of a servant's heart. It may not even be your goal in life to change the world - but it's been proven throughout the ages that one small seed of kindness can bloom into a large garden of change.
What are some of your ideas for spreading cheer? Share in the comments!