If your New Year’s resolution feels like a distant memory, or you feel burned out from a long year of work school, summer is the perfect time for change. While we are constantly worried about our own problems, assignments, or what other people think of us, making someone else smile with an act of kindness can actually improve your mood, too. It doesn’t take much out of your day to make someone else’s!
Smiling not only boosts your mood—releasing feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin—but it can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
Here are 6 simple ways to bring a smile to others:
1. Send a letter or handwritten note
Handwritten messages are so underestimated. Between social media, texting, and email, we’ve lost much of the intimacy of letter writing. Enjoy this opportunity to reconnect with a friend or loved one, or to show someone your appreciation. Taking 10 to 20 minutes to craft a personal message shows you care, and it will almost certainly bring a smile to the reader.
2. Tell a good (or terrible) joke
You can also make a pun, tell a story about something amusing that happened to you, or share something funny you found online.
3. Hold the door open
It only takes a moment, but the impact is twofold: it demonstrates your ability to slow down and be present, and it makes someone feel cared for.
4. Pay it forward
Treat the person behind you in line at the coffee shop to whatever they were planning to order, and encourage them to do the same for someone else when they get the chance. Who knows? Inspired by an act of kindness, they might also find ways to pay it forward and you could start a chain of positivity!
Spending just an hour or so a month can bring a smile to dozens of faces. In Columbus, it’s easy to find volunteer opportunities on sites like Columbus Gives Back, HandsOn Central Ohio, and VolunteerMatch.
A study in Italy found that when people see someone else smile, or even think about a smile, they can’t help but grin. “Smile and the world smiles with you,” the saying goes, and it appears it is based in fact. The best way to get someone else to smile is to smile at them!