Apr. 17: Spreading more joy

Wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference.

I wrote the other day about spreading joy to others. In light of the bombing in Boston this week, I’m feeling even more that spreading joy needs to become a much bigger focus of my life. I’ve found a gazillion web sites dedicated to this, and I’ll share just a few of the ideas that I think could be totally do-able for me.

  • Smile at people. I have no problem making eye contact and smiling at strangers, but when I’m on the receiving end of a stranger’s smile I sometimes feel kinda creeped out. Proceed with caution—that’s all I’m saying.
  • Give genuine compliments
  • Be thoughtful
  • Donate to worthy causes that align with your values. This is more of a good deed thing than spreading joy—it is to me, anyway; I think of spreading joy as being more immediate and personal than making a donation to Goodwill or American Cancer Society. Still, donating is good good good.
  • Give a handwritten note of encouragement or appreciation
  • Pick flowers from your garden and give them awaykindness
  • Seek out a store manager and let them know when a clerk has been particularly helpful
  • Comment on a blog. Facebook comments are delightful to receive, but the ones left directly on the blog are really special.
  • Let your kids pick out your clothes for work one day (yikes!)
  • Invite a friend out for coffee
  • Text a friend you haven’t contacted in a while, just to let them know they’re on your mind
  • Surprise your spouse and kids with a COOKED breakfast on a busy weekday
  • Write a note to your kids to tell them you’re proud they belong to you
  • Help your kids spread joy too!
  • Make up “care bags” and give them to homeless people (fill a large Zip-loc bag with things like a bar of soap, shampoo, sunscreen, toothbrush, flossers, toothpaste, razor, comb, Band-aids, Chapstick, emery boards, hand sanitizer, deodorant, pack of wet wipes, Kleenex, gum, mints, nuts, energy bars, socks)
  • “Like” a small business on Facebook
  • Leave a dollar in a library book
  • Put a birdfeeder on the ground, just for the squirrels (I bet they’ll be suspicious)
  • Tape change to a vending machine
  • Tip 100%
  • Hand out free popsicles to the neighborhood kids

The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness. ~Maya Angelou

Now, go be nice. Let’s make the goodness in the world bigger than the evil.



  1. Yes!! Great list.

    I especially love telling the manager or even the clerk/salesperson/etc. what a great job they are doing. A little kindness goes a long way.

    And here's a blog comment for you, because I love your blog, Jen!!!

  2. Great ideas thank you.

  3. Great post. And a comment left on your blog :)


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