If there are people in your life who don't take the time to "stop and smell the roses," or are too tired, too stressed out or too crazed by work to smile, perhaps you can help them. These five actions are sure to make even the busiest people slow down and will bring a smile their faces. And, as an added bonus, these actions will make you feel good too. Ha! Hashtag win/win.
Send a handwritten note. Not an email. Not a text. Not a tweet, instagram or snapchat. A real, genuine handwritten note. And I am not talking about a thank you note either (although those are nice too). I'm talking about an out-of-the-blue, put-a-smile-on-someone's-face letter. Listen, I get mail every day. If my dog doesn't eat it (which also brings a smile to my face), my stack of mail includes bills, unwanted credit card offers, bills, unwanted real estate opportunities, bills, unwanted home improvement suggestions.... you get it. A note from a friend or family member? Wow! That is sure to brighten my day.
If the thought of writing such a note stresses you out, here's a boiler plate to help: Dear [fill in the blank], Just wanted to drop you a note to say hello. Life moves fast, so I am trying to slow it down a bit and bring a smile to your face. And hey, isn't it nice to open up mail that isn't a bill? Hope you are having a great day. Love, (fill in the blank) Easy, right.
Use my note as-is, or adjust it as necessary. Or better yet, come up with your own. You will certainly brighten up your recipient's day.
Lend a helping hand. Next time you're walking the dog, pulling into your driveway, trotting down the stairs to the mailroom at work or sitting on the subway, keep your eyes wide open. Chances are you will see someone carrying out their recycling, bringing in their groceries, carrying two huge packages or standing, because they don't have a seat. And when your eyes focus on that sort of event, do something about it. Get in there and help. Share the load, carry a bag, give up your seat. This type of kindness will certainly bring some joy into someone else's day.
Pay a compliment. The next time you see a friend, sister, colleague or neighbor and you think to yourself, Wow, her hair looks great, or Her shoes are perfect, or His front yard is looking good, or His suit is looking dapper, say it out loud! Don't keep stuff like that to yourself... such a lovely compliment is sure to give a person pause and bring a smile to their face.
Give up a memory. This only works with someone you have a history with. You don't have to be besties, but you must have some sort of common history, a story about them saved in your memory bank. Take the time to withdraw the story and share it. Yes, share with them a positive memory of something they did... this little reminder will make them feel so good about themselves. Here's an example: "I remember how good you were with the kids at the park," or, "You always had the most patience of all the parents," or "You really taught me how to write the perfect resume." Get it? Everyone needs to be reminded of their positive actions every now and again. And a little bit goes a long way.
Give up time. his one is perhaps the hardest and yet most important. When I had my first child I received a great book written by the late Kay Willis, mother of ten, titled Are We Having Fun Yet? The 16 Secrets of Happy Parenting. The book is filled with lots of great parenting ideas and some funny stories too. One such story is about a mom who was always in a hurry, dashing out of the house with her child. An elderly neighbor stops to say hello and the little girl says something like "I'm sorry, we don't have time to be nice today." Make time! Stop and say hello to that elderly neighbor. Talk to your child's crossing guard. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Make time to make other people happy. Their smiles will be your payment.
When other people smile, you will too. Remember? Hashtag win/win. So go out there in the great big world and make someone smile