Spread joy. It doesn’t take much, really it doesn’t. There are no guidelines, no right or wrong ways to do it, no right time . . . . Occasionally, a little bit of planning is involved, but mostly it’s spontaneous. Do it and let your actions be joyfully contagious!
There is not a finite number of ways to spread joy, but here are a few suggestions:
When you perform acts of kindness, random or specific, you not only do something good for others, but you make yourself feel good, too! Whether your acts are acknowledged or not, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you sent positive energy out into the universe and that you may have made a difference in people’s lives. And if you are ever lucky enough to be on the receiving end of someone’s kindness, pay it forward. Don’t let the positive energy die – keep it going!
In our increasingly busy lives, we often don’t have the time or take the time to really listen to what those around us are saying. With a million distractions at our disposal, do we listen carefully enough to read between the lines or to catch innuendos? By listening to others intently, we are conveying to them that they are important to us and that what they have to say matters. Do not try to multitask, solve problems, interrupt, or even converse – just listen.
I always say that words have power. In high school, a P.E. teacher gave me the grade of “C” after performing the Cha-Cha in the ballroom dancing section of our P.E. curriculum. When I asked her about the grade, she said, “You have no rhythm.” For decades I shied away from dancing because I assumed I had no rhythm. Now, because I’m old and I don’t care what others think, I dance. In a world of “what ifs” I muse about the difference it might have made if the teacher had only tried to encourage me by saying, “Not too bad! With a little bit more practice, you could be good!” A word of encouragement here and there can create foundations of joy.
Spread joy by sharing yourself with others. Share your time, your energy, your smile, your talents, your heart, your possessions, your money . . . . You are a multifaceted person, so there is much to share!
Reach out to a friend or relative that you haven’t seen in a while or with whom you’ve lost contact. Call, write, email, text – do whatever it takes to let them know you are thinking of them. Far too many excuses and assumptions prevent us from reaching out to others, but all it takes is a simple “Hello” or “I haven’t seen you in ages, but was thinking about you . . .” to reconnect.
Helping others in any way, shape, or form is a guaranteed way of spreading joy. Yesterday in a grocery store, a disabled man in a wheelchair dropped his shopping basket and was unable to retrieve it. Those nearest to him ignored him. I went over and offered my help. The smile I received in return warmed my heart. Helping in large scale ways, such as donating and volunteering, are admirable, but the everyday small ways of helping others mean just as much.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a nice habit, but don’t keep all those good thoughts to yourself. Being grateful and showing gratitude are two different things. It doesn’t take much – a simple thank you, a little note, a small reminder to a loved one, a touch on the arm, doing something special – there are so many ways to show gratitude.
A sincere compliment goes a long way to spread joy. Compliment someone in their workplace for good service received. Pay a compliment if you notice something different about someone. Leave positive comments for bloggers, newspaper and magazine columnists or any one else whose work you’ve appreciated. Thank your doctor for doing his best to provide you with good care. Why is it so much easier to criticize than compliment?
Celebrate life’s gifts everyday. Celebrate nature – spreading joy is not restricted to mankind. I receive much joy from feeding birds in my backyard. Watching them feed and bathe and listening to their songs always brings me back to the present and to a point of appreciation and celebration of life. Celebrate every occasion possible! Especially celebrate special occasions – don’t let them go by unnoticed. Don’t assume that others know you are thinking about them on their birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, etc. How can they know you are thinking of them, if you never tell them? Don’t wait to celebrate!
After reading this post, I hope you feel inspired to go out and SPREAD SOME JOY!