Every action in this world bears a consequence. And while hearing an old adage like that immediately brings to mind negative consequences (like forgetting to turn off the lights and ending up with a $200 electric bill), it can also be applied to the positive consequences that our actions can result in, whether we realize it or not.
For instance: Think about all the times you’ve smiled at a stranger in passing, and how that simple gesture likely put that person in a good mood for the rest of the day. And how many times have you given your seat up on the subway for someone more in need of it? Maybe you don’t think much of something so simple, but that small act of kindness can turn a person’s day around. To counteract all the negativity in the world these days, we’ve rounded up some of the ways you make people happy without even realizing it. And for more uplifting news, don’t miss How to Be Happy, According to Albert Einstein.
You make eye contact.
Many people feel uncomfortable making eye contact with the person they’re speaking to, but doing so actually improves the conversation. How? “Eye contact can tell us if someone is listening and attending to us,” criminology expert David Keatley explained to SBS. “It can tell us we have their attention [and] can then show their emotion—concern, enjoyment, happiness, love.” If you tend to make eye contact when you talk, then it’s likely that people are instantly uplifted after conversing with you—especially if your eyes are conveying feelings of affection!
You call instead of text.
It’s far too easy for things to get misconstrued and miscommunicated over text. Via text, people read into everything from capital letters to ellipses, creating fights where they never existed. But on the phone, both you and the person on the other end of the line are able to hear the intonations of one another’s voices, and there is no punctuation to be overanalyzed. Plus, taking the time to call someone shows them that they’re worth the extra effort, and hearing the voice of a good friend will put a smile on anyone’s face.
You help out without being asked to.
The best kind of friend, coworker, and overall human being is the one who lends a helping hand simply because they want to be useful. When you offer to help for no reason other than to make someone else’s life easier, you might not think much of it (because that’s just the kind of person you are), but the people in your life won’t soon forget that small act of kindness and how you cared enough to reach out.
You’re always in a good mood.
Good moods are just as contagious as bad ones, according to recent research published in Royal Society Open Science, so with your smiling face around, your friends and coworkers are going to be hard-pressed to sustain their sadness. Even if it’s not your intention, your smile and positive attitude are enough to turn any frown upside down. And if you find yourself more angry than amused, try these 20 Best Ways to Calm Your Anger Instantly.
You help clean the house.
This won’t apply to every couple, but in most relationships, the cleaning duties fall on one partner in particular (albeit, unfairly). So when the not-so-helpful partner decides to unexpectedly pick up a mop and tidy the entire house, it naturally follows that his or her significant other will react with total and complete joviality, even if the intention was just to make up for years of slack. And if you are considering making more of an effort around the house, use these 20 Genius House-Cleaning Tricks That Will Blow Your Mind.
You write handwritten letters.
Nothing emphasizes the importance of a relationship quite like taking the time to write something down by hand versus typing it out. And if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a handwritten thank you card or letter, then you already know how tender such a personalized and thoughtful act can be. Plus, bonus: Not only will receiving these scrawled sentiments make your friends and family happy, but, according to research from Kent State University, writing them also makes you happier and more satisfied. Win-win!
You remember people’s birthdays.
A birthday is a momentous occasion in a person’s life, and it’s all the more appreciated when someone like a coworker or acquaintance remembers the big day without any prompting.
You call your parents.
A parent’s biggest fear is losing touch with their children as they age, so one of the nicest things you can do (with or without your realizing it) is call them every now and again and give them a life update. And bonus: Calling mom before work is one of the 17 Clever Ways to Make Mondays Less Miserable.
You remember the little details.
It’s the little things that can make a big difference in someone’s life. For instance: Perhaps your boyfriend is sick with a stomach virus, and so you decide to surprise him with a cup of his favorite soup. Just the fact that you remember what his favorite soup is—let alone that you went out and got him some!—is going to make him happy (or as happy as someone can be with a bout of belly aches).
You serve as a shoulder to cry on.
Letting your friends vent to you in times of stress and struggle is, of course, going to distract them from what it is that’s making them upset (or at least, that’s the aim). But what both you and your friend might not realize is that when you are comforting them, you are also reducing their levels of stress hormone cortisol, thereby lifting their spirits on a chemical level. And if you’re struggling to cheer up a friend, show them the 100 Funniest Cat Memes Ever.
You say “thank you.”
Some people go through life with the attitude that they shouldn’t have to thank or reward people for doing their jobs. Others, however, think that exceptional service (like that of a particularly attentive waiter, for example) should be acknowledged with words of gratitude, and these are the types of people who make lasting impressions on others. And being grateful isn’t just beneficial to the person receiving the praise: Here are 5 Ways Being Thankful Can Change Your Life.
You hold the door open.
Naturally polite people don’t think twice about holding the door open for the person behind them. However, anyone who’s ever had a door inadvertently slammed in their face (which, it’s safe to assume, is everyone) will agree that this simple gesture is enough to restore one’s faith in humanity—at least for the day.
You make everybody laugh.
For someone down in the dumps, laughter is the best medicine. And if you find yourself constantly cracking people up with witty remarks, then you might just be the de facto doctor offering up this medicine—even though all you’re doing is being yourself. And if you’re looking for new ways to make people laugh, start with these 70 Jokes So Corny They’ll Leave You in Stitches.
You tag your friends in cute pet videos.
The internet is a treasure trove of hilarious and heartwarming animal videos that are begging to be shared with friends and family. And given how adorable these photos and videos are, it’s little surprise that looking at them puts us in a state of euphoria—meaning that every time you tag your friends in a video of a cat getting stuck in a cardboard box, you’re bringing them joy that will last long after the video is over.
You keep your friends accountable.
Your friend might not love you when you’re forcing her out of bed at 6:00 a.m. for a workout, but she’ll certainly be happy later on when she’s starting to see results and has you to thank for staying on track.
You smile at strangers.
When you’re hustling and bustling through a crowd just trying to get to your next destination, the last thing on your mind is the people around you, let alone their moods and their feelings. However, when you make an effort to smile at the strangers surrounding you, it can go a long way: Not only will that gesture of kindness stick with the stranger, but it will also lift your own mood and lower your stress levels. (And let’s be honest: Everyone can use a little stress relief in a crowded room.)
You’re playing classical music out loud.
Maybe you listen to classical music because it calms you down, or maybe you just prefer Mozart over Michael Jackson. Either way, when you play your concertos out loud, you’re inadvertently boosting the mood of both yourself and everyone within earshot, as these uplifting tunes, according to researchers from Northumbria University, trigger “positive, contented feelings.”
You compliment strangers.
Compliments coming from friends and family are nice, but it’s hard to take your mom’s words at face value when she tells you how beautiful you are every day. A compliment from a stranger, on the other hand, is given with no strings attached, and so when you tell a random person on the street that you love their outfit or think their hair looks great, it can completely turn their day around.
You let people cut into your lane while driving.
When there’s heavy traffic and everyone is rushing to get to work on time, it’s every man for himself. So when you let someone into your lane after watching them struggle to merge for minutes, you’re making that person’s life both easier and happier. And if traffic is the bane of your existence, avoid The 50 Worst Cities to Drive In.
It’s one thing to listen to your friends when they vent, nodding politely as they cry and complain, but it’s another thing altogether when you try to understand what they’re going through and offer them meaningful advice. Nothing makes someone feel happier than knowing that someone else understands the position they’re in.
You support your friends’ dreams.
Good friends support one another when they decide to make big life changes and take big risks, even if they don’t necessarily agree with them. And though this support comes naturally in any true companionship, it’s still enough to make people happy and remind them that things will be okay, no matter what happens. And if you’re looking for ways to make your friends smile, look no further than these 50 Amazing Jokes You Can Text to Friends.
You give up your seat on public transportation.
A surprising number of people won’t give up their seat on the bus or subway when they see that a pregnant woman or elderly man has nowhere to sit. But if you’re one of the kind souls who’s willing to give up their own comfort for someone else’s, then rest assured that each person you’re giving a seat to is all the happier for your noble sacrifice.
You help tourists find their destination.
Maybe it’s just second nature for you to spot a (literally) lost soul and help them find where they need to go, but don’t underestimate this act of kindness. Many people will ignore tourists and strangers’ requests for directional assistance, and so your compassion is likely a welcome change of pace.
You’re patient with kids.
Every parent has experienced the embarrassment of their child throwing a hissy fit at the absolute worst time (most likely on an airplane or in the middle of a movie theater). But to you, these hissy fits are simply part of raising a child, and so instead of freaking out, you prefer to approach the parent and remind them that it’s not their fault. For a mom or dad who’s handling a screaming child and hordes of angry onlookers, this kindness means everything.
You share your food.
There is perhaps no better way to signify your love and appreciation for someone than by sharing your food with them. Seriously: That food could’ve been another meal, but instead, you chose to give it away to someone else. Now that’s friendship! And for more ways to show your friends you care, don’t miss the 100 Wow Gifts for The Person Who Has Everything.
You answer texts quickly.
Maybe you’re just always on your phone and so you don’t think much about responding to your friend’s frequent messages, but anyone who’s ever tried making plans with a slow texting individual is going to appreciate your speediness and reliability. Plus, being timely lets people know that they’re not being blown off. And if you’re hopelessly attached to your device, then you’ll want to learn these 20 Things You Didn’t Know Your Smartphone Could Do.
You decorate for the holidays.
It’s a well-known fact that happy holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving put us in a jolly spirit. And if you’re the type of person that likes to go all-out with decorations galore, then you’re doing your part to spread the holiday cheer so everyone can feel that same Christmas spirit!
You bake for the office.
All wannabe Martha Stewarts know that baking is a delicious way to relieve stress and soothe the soul. But when you give baked goods to others, you are also making them happy, since, as culinary art therapist Julie Ohana explained to the Huffington Post, “food really is an expression of love, and… it’s something we really all relate to.” And if you consider yourself an amateur chef, read up on the 17 Ways You’re Using Your Kitchen All Wrong.
You share TV and movie recommendations.
You never know: Your next Netflix recommendation could be your coworker’s new favorite TV show! And if you need some recommendations, check out The 30 Funniest Movies of All Time.
You say “I love you” just because.
“I love you” are the three words that every person wants to hear from their significant other, especially when they come from seemingly out of nowhere. When you text your spouse in the middle of the day and remind them how much you love them, it lets them know that you’re always thinking about them, and what better way is there to make someone’s day? And for more ways to make your partner happy, try these 50 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Fresh.
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