In the last few years, we’ve seen a shift in our attitudes toward mental health. We’re more willing to talk about issues like anxiety and depression, and we’re more aware that how we treat ourselves is important. But it’s not just about us—it’s also about how we can help our friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors feel better too. And sometimes, all it takes is a small gesture to make someone happier.
In this article, we’re exploring four small ways you can make someone a little happier. The best part? All of these ideas are easy to implement and require minimal effort on your part.
Smile at them
Smiling is always a good idea, but smiling at others is especially useful because it can make them feel happier. According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, people who witness someone else smiling also feel more cheerful and friendly. In other words, smiling is contagious.
Send them a note
A handwritten note can be a simple, thoughtful gesture that can make someone’s day. If you’re going to send them a note, consider including a gift as well. A small gift like a Starbucks gift card or candy bar shows that you put thought into the note and cared enough to include something thoughtful. You could even write the note on their favorite paper! Or, if you want to go all out, simply write them an entire book full of handwritten notes expressing how much they mean to you.
Gift them personalized fortune cookies
You can make personalized fortune cookies for someone you know, and it’s as easy as filling up some chocolates with words of encouragement. Once you have the fortune cookie wrappers and fillings, all you have to do is write down your friend’s favorite fortune on a piece of paper, roll it up, insert it into one end of the wrapper and fold it around until they are closed. You can even decorate the outside with stickers or markers if you like.
Tell them you care about them
The easiest way to show someone you care is by telling them. You can do it in person, over the phone, or through text—whatever your relationship with the other person allows for. But be sure to follow up by expressing why you care about that person: “I love how kind you are”; “You seem like a lot of fun”; “I admire your sense of humor.” The point is that this isn’t just some generic compliment; it’s genuine and specific because it comes from YOU.
You don’t have to go out of your way to make someone happy. Even small gestures, like smiling or sending a note, or asking them how their day was, can make a big difference in someone’s life. And while they may not be able to return the favor right away, it’s always nice knowing that someone cares about you. So next time you see someone who looks like they could use some cheering up—whether it be at work or even just on the street.