By Marisa Brenizer

It’s not often in our hectic lives that we take pause and offer a kind gesture to those around us. Thankfully, doing so may be easier than you think! Here are 10 very simple ways to brighten someone else’s day (with the wonderful side effect of brightening your own, to boot).

1. Compliment someone.

Honesty is key here—only compliment when you are being sincere. The recipient will feel the honesty and appreciate the comment all the more! Aim to go beyond physical appearance and compliment a character trait, action, achievement, etc.

2. Hold open a door.

Some may see this as being old-fashioned, but the simple act of holding open a door can inspire faith in humanity. The great thing about this act is that the person you helped will likely pay it forward and do the same thing for someone else!

3. Make someone’s favorite meal for them.

Nothing says kindness like preparing a meal for friends or loved ones…especially if it’s a surprise! Find out your friend or family member’s favorite dish and whip it up on a whim. This act of kindness is especially appreciated during times of sickness or grief, and is just as sweet when done randomly.

4. Put up nice Post-it notes.

Making inspirational post-it notes for ourselves is one thing—how about trying it for someone else? You can stick it to their desk, stash it in their lunch, or simply put it on their mirror for a little pick-me-up. Try happy quotes, or even a simple “You are loved!”.

5. Pick up the slack.

Know anyone who needs help walking their dog, taking out their trash, or mowing the lawn? Take notice of any neighbors in need, elderly or otherwise, and offer to help them out with their chores. Imagine your own parents and how you would like them to be treated by their neighbors.

6. Call a friend or loved one.

Speaking of mom and dad, when’s the last time you called a family member just to tell them how much you appreciate them? Rather than waiting until their birthday or the next holiday, try this little act of kindness on a regular ol’ weekday. (Random, sweet texts are great, too.)

7. Pay it forward.

Have you ever stood in a crowded grocery line and noticed that the person at the front of the line is having trouble scrounging up their coins, coupons, or EBT card? Instead of groaning and glancing at your watch, offer to pay for their groceries (if you’re able to). You may inspire others to do the same the next time they see someone in need!

8. Be more present and maintain a connection.

Quite often, we rush through our days without looking anyone in the eye. Try being present while interacting with others, maintain eye contact, put your phone away (!!!) and listen with your whole heart. Be sure to offer a good, strong handshake or hug (when appropriate), too!

9. Leave a generous tip.

The next time you experience stellar service at a restaurant, make an effort to tip accordingly. You can also verbally let the waiter/waitress know how great they have been and how much you appreciate their services.

10. Just…smile!

You’d be surprised at how contagious a smile can be! Simply looking up and smiling at someone can change the course of their entire day. It costs you literally nothing, and it brightens the day for the both of you.

When in doubt, remember the golden rule: treat others the way that you’d like to be treated. The more you commit yourself to performing even the simplest acts of kindness, the easier it is to keep the momentum going!

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