One of the best ways to make your own life happier is to cheer someone else up and to make their life happier.
You simply see it. As the face of a family member, friend or co-worker lights up with joy you feel happier too.
You did something good. You will feel happier because you know deep down that you did a good thing and the right thing. And so your self-esteem will rise too.
You tend to get what you give in life. In the long run – over weeks, months and years – you usually will be treated by others as you treat them. Plus – and this is something I didn’t understand for quite some time – you also tend to treat and think about yourself as you think about and treat other people.
So, how can you cheer someone that is going through a tough time up and make their life happier today?
Let me share 47 tips and things you can do.
Try one of two of them out today and see how it affects someone in your life (and then you and your own happiness too).
1. Give a sincere compliment.
Think about it for a minute and then give someone in your life a sincere compliment today. It may mean especially much if the compliment is about something close to that person’s heart or if it's something that they have put in an effort to improve in their life.
This is a great way to make someone’s day (and sometimes week too).
2. Hold the door open.
It takes so little effort but can put a smile on someone’s face and a spring in their step.
3. Let someone into your lane.
While you’re driving, let someone into your lane. It can quickly reduce frustration and some stress in his or her life.
4. Share some of your homemade cookies.
Or your tasty jerky, bread or ice cream you made earlier today. Simply a small gift that expresses your appreciation of them.
5. Give away a piece of your hobby.
Like, for example, a painting, bracelet or piece of clothing you made.
6. Share some of the good things you harvested this fall or summer.
Maybe some of that homemade jam, canned vegetables or dried mushrooms.
7. Express your gratitude for something that’s too often taken for granted.
It’s too common to take what others do for us for granted. Like how they are there to listen, how they are doing their job well or the meals they prepare for us to enjoy.
The best way to help someone in a world that can be discouraging and tough may be to encourage them. To help lift them up when they are in a negative situation.
So add your own grounded and constructive perspective to help alleviate their fears and to help them find optimism and a path forward once more.
9. Tell a funny joke.
Or a funny or thrilling story about something that happened to you earlier this week.
10. Share something funny you found online.
Like a funny video, your current favorite song, a funny meme or one of the positive things you’ve discovered lately like an inspiring article or social media channel.
11. Share a playlist of the most uplifting songs you’ve found.
Go beyond your favorite song right now if you like and share with them a whole playlist of good music that you use to refuel your own motivation during difficult times.
12. Tell a friend about a podcast that inspires you.
Or share a playlist of your favorite podcast episodes or audio documentaries that give you plenty of motivation or life changing insights about our time here on earth.
13. Give a stranger a compliment.
You don’t know what kind of hard time someone you pass by in daily life may be going through. So try giving them a compliment about how great their hat or umbrella looks or ask them where they got that cool t-shirt.
14. Just listen.
As someone vents and both get those negative emotions and thoughts out and start to figure out the situation they are in out loud and what they want to do about it. This can, in my experience, be a great help to stop overthinking things and to not build mountains out of molehills in one's mind.
15. Help out with some advice.
Share what has worked for you in a similar situation in a relationship, at work or with your own business. And if this is beyond your experience and knowledge, perhaps gently suggest that they talk to someone who knows a lot more and to get a bit of professional help.
16. Give them a hand with setting up a meeting, party etc.
Having someone pitch in and help out can in my experience be a big stress reliever and be helpful to plan for the upcoming event in a smarter and simpler way.
17. Pick some flowers.
A simple thing but it can to the right person who loves flowers be a wonderful combination of them feeling surprised and being able to appreciate a piece of nature for a few days.
18. Go out in nature together.
Another way to enjoy the sights and smells of nature is to simply take a walk or hike together.
This combination of fresh air, exercise and just experiencing the stillness might just be what your friend needs to receive a burst of positive emotions and turn a bad day into one of the good days this week.
19. Give a hug.
An easy way to unstress and change someone’s mood surprisingly quickly. Use when it is appropriate though.
20. Run an errand for them.
It can reduce stress big time if someone is having a hectic day and doesn't feel they have time to go down to the post office or store.
21. Exercise together.
Sometimes the best medicine to get those happy hormones going, to find a new perspective on things and renew your energy is to work out. So do it together with your friend or partner to get that boost for the both of you (and to nudge them in the right direction if they are lazy or procrastinating about going to the gym or going out running today).
22. Do a boring task to lighten their load today.
Having someone else doing the dishes, cleaning up after cooking or doing some extra laundry can, in my experience, be a big relief if I’m having a bad or overly busy day.
23. Help them with something they’ve procrastinated for too long.
Like cleaning out the garage or their closet. Or getting the weeds out of a part of their garden.
24. Cook their favorite food if they’ve had a bad day.
This one really cheers me up on such days.
25. Pick up their favorite take out food.
A quicker option than cooking their favorite food. But still a really good one.
26. Bring something nice or sweet for the coffee break at work.
This is a smaller variation of the previous two tips. Just bring some nice fruit, a couple of pieces of dark chocolate or some other sweet treat to boost their mood during afternoon coffee or tea.
Even if you are simply talking to the cashier for 30 seconds in the supermarket or coffee shop. Because that positive energy is contagious.
28. Remind them to just breathe.
Few things will calm someone down and help them to center themselves and their thoughts as focusing on just their breathing for 1-2 minutes. So remind your friend or co-worker to take deep breaths, to breathe with their stomach and to only focus on that to feel better within a few minutes.
29. Do a brainstorming session together.
If he or she is in a negative situation then take 10-20 minutes and just come up with as many ideas as the two of you can to improve upon this situation. And no idea is too bad or silly at this stage.
The point is just to come up with as many ideas as you can. And then, after that is done, you can pick out the best and most actionable ones that you can break down into small steps and your friend can take action on.
30. Hide a secret, handwritten note.
A note of love, of thankfulness or perhaps one with a compliment. Hide it in their lunch box, hat or under their pillow. It takes just a few minutes but goes a long way to lift someone up when they are having a rough time.
31. Bring a cup of coffee or tea just the way the person likes it.
Or any other warm drink they like such as a broth or some hot cocoa.
32. Go out for some ice cream together.
It's a simple way to make a quick break into a good time and to lift the spirits of a loved one with the help of a caring gesture and a tasty treat.
33. Stay in for a movie night with popcorn.
This is especially nice now during the fall and winter when the evenings are often cold, dreary and dark. Pop some popcorn and watch maybe one feel-good movie and one funny movie to both find a new perspective and have a good laugh together.
34. Gather some friends or family and play board games.
Spend an afternoon or evening with some good snacks and fun board games to have some quality time together.
35. Do what they most like to do if they’ve had a bad day.
You know what your best friend, partner or child likes the most. Their favorite things. It might be tennis, fishing, crossword puzzles, video games or something else. Take them along to do that activity for an hour or two.
36. Reach out even if they are far away.
Don’t let distance get in the way of cheering someone up that you care for. You can use Skype, make a phone call or send text messages to change someone’s mood within minutes and to make them feel better.
37. Go out for a fun and recharging activity.
Sometimes we all just need a break from our everyday life and challenges to feel better. So go out for a spa day. Or half a day at a museum. Or go to the local amusement park to go on some scary but thrilling roller coaster rides.
38. Help them find gratitude.
A simple way to help people find a more positive perspective on their life and to find the silver lining if needed is to encourage them to ask themselves more helpful questions. Like for example:
- What can I be grateful for in my life today?
- Who are 3 people that I can be grateful to have in my life and why?
- What are 3 things I can be grateful for about myself?
- What is one thing I too often take for granted that I can be grateful for?
39. Help out with decluttering a part of their living space and then to freshen that space up.
Perhaps they have a bedroom where they really want to do some decluttering and reordering to create a more pleasant and calming space to sleep. And if the room needs some further sprucing up then some new plants and maybe some new drapes can make a big difference.
40. Assist with getting an item on their bucket list done.
If you are close friends then this one can be a really good way to cheer them up. If they for example want to go skydiving or eat at a really good restaurant then help them to take that step and finally book it.
Or the two of you can come up with steps they can take to save up money for the bucket list item and a plan for when they can book it.
41. Help them see how they make a difference in their lives.
Point out how your friend or coworker is spreading kindness and happiness in their life. Because many are unaware of how much good they do for others or they underestimate the positive impact they have.
So help them see themselves in a more positive light so they don't sink into or get stuck in low self-esteem.
42. Help them help someone else.
The two of you could for example help a mutual friend out with something. Or sign up to do a bit of work at a local charity or soup kitchen.
43. Remind them of shared happy memories.
This is such a simple but fun thing for the both of you. Cheer him or her up – and yourself too – by talking about the trips and evenings that you will never forget, the funny thing that happened back in school and some of the good times you’ve had together.
44. Take their mind off a problem for a while.
Watch a few movies, play some soccer or go out for an evening with some good food and drinks. This is a simple but great thing for someone that needs that distraction for a while to relax and recharge a bit.
45. Do an activity together that slightly shocks them into a new mood.
For example, go out for – or cook – some spicy foods to get that kick from the heat. Or go for a cold bath. Or spend a bit of time in a sauna. These light shocks to the system are in my experience a simple and effective way to change one’s current mood and perspective.
46. Bring the positive energy.
If you bring positivity and an open and good energy into a conversation then that tends to spread and the two of you will likely have a happier and more fun lunch break or coffee date in the late afternoon.
47. Bonustip: Remember to pay it forward as soon as you can.
If someone does something to cheer you up and makes you a bit happier again then a good thing to remember – to create an upward spiral in your world – is to pay that kindness forward to someone else. So just as you have been cheered up today, find someone you can cheer up too before today is over.