18 Free (Or Almost Free) Things You Can Do To Spread Happiness

This article was originally published on BetterAfter50.com.

"Help me out," I told my friend as we walked through the woods. I did not need a hand over the roots sticking out from the muddy path. I did not need a sip of her water. I needed mind help... I am still suffering from a little chemo brain.

The truth was, I needed help with my writing. I explained that I had been inspired by all the stuff in the news about happiness lately. I had been inspired by Felice's article in BA50 last week about Spontaneous Happiness. And people had been so nice to me in these last months of treatment that I tried to make a list of things that are free-or almost free- that can make someone else feel happy. But I couldn't remember anything.

I informed her that despite my having thought about this all weekend, my list was only two items long.

"Do you have any ideas?" I asked.

And without missing a beat, she replied with a big smile, "You mean, like a blow job?"

And that's why I love this friend. With three simple words, she made me happy.

However, that was not exactly what I had in mind.

What I had in mind was the kind of "nice" like when you wrote your kid an unexpected love note and stuffed it in their lunchbox.

Eventually, I came up with a few things, blow jobs not included:
  1. Bring your positive energy to the table. Go for a walk, surprise someone, make someone laugh. Your positive energy in any interaction is contagious.
  2. Hold the door open.
  3. Recommend a really awesome book. Here is one that was just recommended to me, and it is indeed, awesome:  What Was Mine, by Helen Klein Ross
  4. Forward a good joke to a friend who you know would enjoy it. Here is one I recently received (feel especially free to forward this post with this awesome joke to make someone's day):
  5. Here's a truly heartwarming story about the bond formed between a little 4-year-old girl and some construction workers that will make you believe that we all can make a difference when we give a child the gift of our time:

A young family moved into a house, next to a vacant lot. One day, a construction crew turned up to start building a house on the empty lot. The young family's 4-year-old daughter naturally took an interest in all the activity going on next door and spent much of each day observing the workers. Eventually, the construction crew, all of them "gems-in-the-rough," more or less adopted her as a kind of project mascot. They chatted with her, let her sit with them while they had coffee and lunch breaks and gave her 20 little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important.

At the end of the first week, they even presented her with a pay envelope containing $10.The little girl took this home to her mother who suggested that she take her $10 "pay" she'd received to the bank the next day to start a savings account. When the girl and her mom got to the bank, the teller was equally impressed and asked the little girl how she had come by her very own pay check at such a young age. The little girl proudly replied, "I worked last week with a real construction crew building the new house next door to us."

"Oh my goodness gracious," said the teller, "and will you be working on the house again this week, too?"

The little girl replied, "I will, if those assholes at Home Depot ever deliver the fuckin' drywall."

  • Let someone know how much you enjoyed the joke they sent you.  Even better... include it in your blog post with a "Thank you, Rick, for the awesome joke!"
  • Send someone a funny card. Or any hand written note sent by snail mail. Birthday not required.
  • Let someone step ahead of you in line. Even when they have more groceries than you do.
  • Share a really awesome recipe. Even better... make the dish, and bring it over with the recipe!
  • Buy a friend, or even a stranger, a cup of coffee.
  • Share a really funny video or an article you read that might mean something.  Here's a good one that a friend sent me recently...and it made me smile.
  • Give a complete stranger a compliment.
  • Share your umbrella.
  • Leave a nice note for someone on their car if you recognize the car in a parking lot or on the street.
  • Let someone into your lane while you are driving. I admit, I've actually never done this... and I'm not sure I ever will.
  • Get out of the Fast Pass lane (if there is no back up, of course) and pay the toll for the car behind you.
  • Bring flowers or vegetables from your garden to a neighbor.
  • Share a walk.
  • Say thank you for a job well done.
  • Earlier on Huff/Post50:

    8 Things That Make Or Break Your Happiness: AARP Survey