by Suzee Connole
In honor of International Day of Happiness today and LiveHappy’s #HappyActs mission, here are 10 things you can do today to promote long-term happiness for yourself and those around you. Demonstrations of kindness, after all, are proven to yield positive results.
1. Grab your coworker a coffee. The caffeine isn’t the only thing that will provide energy here. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation conducted a study that determined that people feel more loved, happy, and energized after participating in an act of kindness. Go for the joe!
2. Throw a compliment someone’s way. A sincere “Great job on the presentation!” or “Your cupcakes were a hit at the kids’ bake sale!” goes a long way. Studies have shown that, upon receiving a compliment, a part of the brain activates that triggers a desire to perform better. Who doesn’t enjoy being praised for something they’ve worked hard on!
3. Hold the elevator. Your day might be going according to plan but, odds are, the person sprinting for the elevator is a little behind. Keeping the door open that 10 extra seconds allows them to get where they need to be while knowing you played a part in it.
4. Write a thank-you card. A thank-you card, like a compliment, gives the recipient tangible validation that they are appreciated. A handwritten expression of your gratitude is an easy way to identify and personalize your response to an act of kindness or something you admire.
5. Switch it up at lunch. If you and your colleague Sandra have a long-standing lunch routine (12:15 at the third table from the left at Panera), it might be nice to invite someone new to join you, or go someplace different. You could even consider lunching alone—a little quiet time can leave you refreshed and ready to re-engage with more positivity. If you choose to sit with a new coworker, you might want to have what they’re having: Ordering similar food has been shown to promote feelings of closeness and trust.
6. Let the chicken cross the road. Okay, not the chicken, the pedestrian! (Just checking that you were still with me.) You punched out, got in the car, and have the open (or traffic-jammed) road before you. You’ve got your radio on and your seat adjusted the way you like it. You are in control of your environment; the pedestrian isn’t. They are braving the elements to get from Point A to Point B. Stopping to let them walk, even when the light is with you (if traffic conditions safely allow it, of course) gets them to their destination that much more quickly.
7. Make dinner for someone else. Especially if this is not something you typically do, take the lead. A three-course meal may not be your forte, but don’t let the menu intimidate you. A grilled cheese always tastes better when someone else makes it.
8. Give the kids five extra minutes. I don’t have any children, just a Chocolate Lab with the energy of one. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve heard this statement preached to parents of young children at every family gathering, holiday party, and work outing I’ve attended: “The days are long, but the years are short.” Your child isn’t going to be three forever. Three quickly becomes 11 and then they’re touring colleges and suddenly they’re walking down the aisle. Take five minutes whenever you can to cherish the trials and tribulations of life through a three-year-old’s eyes.
9. Fold the laundry. Why leave it for tomorrow? Your to-do list is already a mile long and you could use the extra few minutes in the morning to prepare for the day ahead. Not to mention that, if you do it now, it means that your significant other, children, or roommate will not have to do it later. The 10 minutes you spend folding gifts them 10 minutes to do whatever they want with.
10. Give yourself time to wind down. You just spent your day completing #HappyActs for others—you cannot neglect yourself. The end of the day is a great time to reflect, regroup, and set your intention for the days ahead. Meditation is a perfect way to end the day. Here are a few more ways.
Suzee Connole is the Marketing Assistant for Wholebeing Institute. Part of her role at WBI involves highlighting how alumni, faculty, and guest speakers are taking positive psychology principles and applying them in the communities where they live and work.