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4 min read

You don’t need a reason to do something nice for someone else. You just can! It gives you both a warm, fuzzy feeling, and it’s often just a simple gesture that costs absolutely nothing. 

As Tony mentioned in the previous post, the act of giving can be a massive contributing factor to your happiness. A random act of kindness may be just a small gesture to you, but can have a massive impact on the other person.

In a previous incarnation of mine, I worked in a jewellers. One day I heard that a customer had left some lovely feedback for me online. I’d helped him pick out a new strap for his watch, fitted it for him, and we’d just had a bit of chat. To me it was nothing out of the ordinary – I was just doing my job and shooting the breeze with a stranger. He was an elderly gentleman who, it turned out, lived alone, didn’t get out much, and I was the first person he’d spoken to in days. Just the act of smiling with him and having a casual conversation about his plans for the day had had such a positive impact on him, that he went out of his way to give me some feedback about it.

That was several years ago now, but it’s stuck with me all this time. By showing kindness to a stranger, he repaid me with kindness that has lasted many years. And classic me, as you’ll learn in future posts – I’m not very good at being on the receiving end of things like this. I couldn’t just take the compliment and be happy with it. Nooo….. I had to do what I always do and overthink it! Could I have done anything differently? Why couldn’t I remember his face? Was I being genuine, or did I roll my eyes at him when he left? 

Anyway, his lovely comments had a really positive impact on me. I became more mindful and considerate of what other people’s circumstances might be. A smile costs us nothing, but can mean everything to someone who really needs it. Maybe they’re having a bad day, maybe they feel overwhelmingly anxious in their surroundings, maybe they aren’t good at starting a conversation with a stranger. Maybe you’re just genuinely pleased to see them! Whatever your reason for smiling today is, share it with someone!

The theme of Happiness Happens Month 2020 is Operation #SmileStarter. Here are a few ways you can get in on the happiness!…

  1. Share your umbrella with someone when it’s raining.
  2. If you’ve been at an in-person meetup and there’s leftover food, offer to give it to someone who is experiencing homelessness.
  3. Pay someone a (genuine!) compliment.
  4. Make someone feel important.
  5. Tell someone you appreciate them.
  6. Congratulate someone on a job well done.
  7. Make a cup of tea for your colleagues.
  8. Make and send a care package to someone who needs it.
  9. Donate unwanted items to charity.
  10. Ask more questions than you answer.
  11. Hold a door open for someone.
  12. Help clean / tidy after a party.
  13. Give up your seat for someone on the bus.
  14. Sign up to do voluntary work in your local community.
  15. Bring a friend’s pet a treat.
  16. Give blood.
  17. Get in touch with that person you keep meaning to get in touch with!
  18. Send a motivational text to a friend who is struggling.
  19. Send someone a cute animal picture.
  20. Make a donation to a food bank.
  21. Bake for your colleagues.
  22. If you see someone looking lost, take a minute to help with directions.
  23. Give someone a copy of your favourite book.
  24. Create a day to celebrate a loved one. Maybe they’re not into birthdays. Declare it to be ‘<Name> Appreciation Day’ instead.
  25. Encourage someone to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals.
  26. Make a helpful introduction.
  27. Allow someone to help you.
  28. Make someone smile.
  29. Reach out to the new person in your team.
  30. Make someone laugh!

Be the reason someone else smiles today. And to any of my friends reading this – if you want to send me any photos of your dog, you’ll be the reason I smile today!

Happy Happiness Happens Month!

Debi Skea

Director & Co-Founder at Humans of Code