I think we could all agree that we live in a troubled world! With everything happening in the world lately to undermine our peach and happiness, it's important to seek things that are uplifting and positive if we want joy here in this mortal journey.
I think we could all use a little more happiness in life. I think a regular dose of happiness can reduce stress and strengthen our sense of well being and help us cope with whatever challenges come our way.
Guess what???!!! It doesn't have to be a big deal or something big to feel happy. In fact, it only takes very little effort to reap big rewards on the happiness scale. I am certainly no expert on happiness, but I find that being helpful and courteous to others is the fastest way to make your life happier.
It only takes something simple like holding a door open for someone else, smiling and saying "hell0" to someone, asking the clerk at the store how they're doing, all may seem insignificant at first, but if you look closer, you will see how these acts help to soften the demeanor change, and a smile begin to appear on faces. Not only your face, but the faces of others, including those who witness your acts of kindness.
How about some ideas to help increase YOUR happiness? They are from some of my own experiences and ideas others have shared with me. Some of these ideas may seem very minor, and others may require more effort. But whatever your commitment in finding greater joy, there is something here for you.
Happiness Boost Ideas
1) Pick up trash wherever you go. (at the movies, on the sidewalks, at the park, the beach, in a parking lot.) Just knowing that you have helped to keep the world a cleaner and more beautiful place can be uplifting. The great thing about this act of service is that others who see you do this tend to follow your lead. Try it! You will be amazed!!
2) Write a thank you note to your mail carrier and leave it in your mailbox. Many of us have had the same mail carrier for years, but have never taken the time to say hello or thank you. Another idea, you could offer him or her a cold drink on a hot day. This is a great idea here in Arizona.
3) If you live in an area where parking meters are used, put coins in a parking meter for someone else. It's a little thing, but it could save someone an expensive ticket. Just think if it were your expired meter, how grateful you would be!
4) You could babysit or pet sit for free. There are several young mothers who could really use a break from their children, and who don't have much money to hire a sitter. Some people cannot take vacations because of pets. An offer to pet sit may be their only chance to have a vacation.
5) You could offer to pump gas for an elderly or handicapped person getting gas.
6) Let another person have the good parking space in the shade or close to the store. A great place to do this is Sam's Club or Costco.
7) Let someone cut in front of you at the grocery store that seems in a hurry, you never know what the rush is about.
8) Invite someone home for dinner during the holidays. Someone who might be a alone.
9) Send a hand written note to a friend telling them how much you appreciate them. Let them know their friendship is valued and you appreciate their righteous influence in your life. You never know how special your note will become to your friend, and possibly to other members of their family. One person wrote a note to a friend who died unexpectedly a few months later. After the funeral, one of the friends children handed the note back. This note was found in the friends scriptures and they gave it back, now the note is in the authors scriptures, as a treasured memory.
10) Help someone who is having trouble financially, but do it anonymously.
11) Next time you are at the market, buy and extra watermelon, box of fresh berries, bananas, or bag of oranges and give it to a neighbor.
12) Buy a meal for a homeless person or give them a gift certificate to grocery store or fast food place. You could buy quality socks and knit hats and give them to the homeless. These are items a homeless person can always use, especially during the winter. In the summer, water is always nice too.
13) Take flowers to someone in the hospital or in a convalescent home, or someone confined to home. There are lots of people in hospitals and convalescent homes that could use a visitor. If you want help, just as the nurse's station who needs a visit.
14) Renew an old friendship. This can bring all kinds of happiness! I recently reconnected with some friends from high school through Facebook after almost 30 years, and it has been awesome!!
15) Seek out a long lost family member. This can be very rewarding! My dad was adopted and has found his birth mother, father, sister, and brother. He also has a daughter (she has a family of her own too) he lost contact with and they have reconnected too. All of this has been a huge blessing not only for my father, but for all of us and has brought much joy!
16) Pay the toll fee for a car behind you. This one can really be a fun one. Once in a while someone will get out of their car and wave, as if to say thank you, as you drive off.
17) Pick up the bill at a restaurant for someone dining alone. I know someone who did this for an elderly woman. When the waitress told her the meal was paid for, she smiled and looked around the room, then took a Kleenex from her purse and wiped tears from her eyes.
18) If you are taking flowers to a loved one at the cemetery, buy some extra and place them on the grave of someone you do not know. This could brighten the day of the living relatives.
19) If you are looking for instant peace, take a moment and go sit in your yard or a park and feed the birds. You can buy a small bag of birdseed for under $3.00 or use crackers or bread. It really works well and can be simple therapy. Another option is to bring someone who is caring for a sick spouse or relative. Believe me, this person could really use a break and some peace, as well as a good friend to just listen to them.
20) Leave some extra change at the laundromat or in a vending machine. I promise this will be helpful to someone.
21) Put your neighbor's trash cans away for them on trash day. A friend of mine had a father that walked his neighborhood on trash day just to put away all his neighbor's empty cans. When his 90th birthday came around, he had over a hundred visitors come by the house to wish him Happy Birthday. All of them were his grateful "trash can neighbors."
22) Take someone to the movies that cannot afford to go, or who usually goes alone. OR if you are in line for a movie and you see someone alone, buy their ticket for them. They will not believe you did this for a complete stranger.
23) Take treats to your local Fire Department or Police Station and thank them for their service to your community. They put their lives on the line for all of us, almost everyday, and we should let the know we appreciate them.
24) You could thank a soldier in uniform whenever you see them. If you see a soldier in a restaurant, go over to them and express your gratitude. You could even offer to buy their meal, maybe buy it anonymously. By acknowledging and showing your appreciation for their sacrifice and service, you will help to strengthen them and uplift them.
25) Offer to go grocery shopping for an elderly friend, someone who is sick or a busy mother with small children.
26) Take books you no longer want to a homeless shelter. Make sure scriptures are a part of your donation. You can also leave scriptures in a laundromat or hospital emergency room. You could even write a note of encouragement, or your testimony, and leave it in the book.
Let Heaven orchestrate who needs to find the book.
27) Be kind to a telephone solicitor, its their job to call. Besides, they are just trying to make a living, just like everyone else. I'm sure calling people that do not want to talk to them can be frustrating. Kind of like missionary work! Think about it.
28) Read something uplifting or inspiring each night before bed. I do this almost everyday during my lunch hour at work. Whenever I get the chance to do this, my perspective and attitude change instantly.
29) Read your scriptures and say your prayers every day. I will admit, I struggle with this one more times than I care to admit. If your situation does not allow for family scripture reading, and you are not able to do this on your own, ask an extended family member or close friend to be your reading buddy. You could read together on the phone at night, or even using Skype. Before long, weeks, months, maybe even years will go by as you continue to do this. Just think of the benefits, not only will you get closer to your Heavenly Father, but you could strengthen a relationship with an extended family member, and that can be a rewarding experience in so many ways.
30) This one is very important! Take the time to tell the people you love that you LOVE them. DO IT NOW, do not procrastinate on this one!!!
I remember carpooling to work with a friend and co-worker. One of things we use to talk about was what we would do if we came into a large sum of money. Then we got real and talked about the things we have done, without the large sum of money. I told her about the times I bought groceries for a couple random strangers who approached me as I was walking into the grocery store. OR when I gave a homeless person holding a sign, standing near the on ramp to the freeway, a few bucks. Then there have been the times when I have been approached for gas money at the gas station. One guy wanted a couple bucks because he was trying to get his little family home. His son was crying in the back seat and his wife was trying to comfort the little one. I walked into the gas station and paid to fill his gas tank. This wasn't much, considering he had a small car and I don't think it took more than $20-$30 bucks to fill it.
My friend, on the other hand, has done some pretty incredible things. One time she knew about this elderly couple who did not have hot water in their home because their water heater was busted. When my friend came into a little extra money she bought this elderly couple a new water heater AND even had her son install the new water heater and haul away the old one. Pretty awesome, right?!!! I thought so too.
Let the Lord guide you, inspire and help us make the world a happier and better place, once small act of kindness at a time. AND keep in mind, what goes around comes around.