In a world where it's easy to feel overwhelmed with negativity, the smallest things can help spread a little kindness and lift someone's spirits. How many of these can you fit into the next 24 hours?
1. Compliment someone
A simple but sincere compliment can make someone feel instantly happier. An in-person compliment is great, but complimenting someone's picture (or something they've achieved) on social media can work too.
Buy someone a coffee, a bagel or even lunch. If they've helped you out in the past, tell them you want to do it to say thank you.
3. Express appreciation for a past favour
Talking about people who've helped you out in the past, consider thanking them again. No matter how long ago it was, it's good to hear something you did is still appreciated. In fact, it's wonderful to hear that something you barely remember doing is still having an impact on someone's life.
4. Donate something
Donate some cash to a charity or cause. The amount doesn't matter. Every little helps. No cash to spare? Donate something you have at home that you don't need. If it's new and unused, you may be able to donate it for a prize at a fundraising event.
5. Leave money somewhere to be found by someone
Leave some money in a public place, with a note to tell the finder to spend it on themselves (so they don't worry that it's lost, and someone is looking for it). It can be just a few dollars, or as much as you can afford.
6. Pass on brilliant books
When you read a book you love, pass it on to someone else you think will love it. Mainly read eBooks? You can sometimes lend them out too.
7. Leave a book to be found by someone
If you're happy for your book to go to a stranger, you can leave it somewhere public to be found. Include a note if you want. There's even a website that encourages you to 'release your books into the wild' and try and track where your book ends up.
We all get into the habit of doing the same things with the same people, but sometimes there are others who'd love to join us. Invite your new neighbour to a social event, or invite the mom at the next table at the indoor play space to join you and your friends.
Put your hand up to help out, whether it's a regular volunteer commitment, or a spontaneous bake sale at your kid's school.
10. Support good causes
Buy the Girl Guide Cookies. Sponsor the high school student raising money for a field trip. Get your car washed at the charity car wash. Buy the raffle tickets at the fundraiser.
11. Consider making a micro loan
Organizations like Kiva offer small loans to help people in third world countries start their own businesses. You can start with a loan as low as $25. When your loan is repaid you can take the money back or reinvest it in another business.
12. Send someone a recipe
Keeping track of someone's favorite food, and then sending a recipe that you think they'd love, is a small but thoughtful act that can make someone's day.
13. Say something nice (about someone else)
Direct compliments are nice, but saying something nice about someone to another person is also a kind act. Point out your friend's good points to your other mutual friends. Tell your boss how hard your colleague or assistant worked. Tell your neighbor how polite her kids are.
14. Pass along the positivity
Heard someone say something nice about someone you know? Tell her. Pass the compliment (and the positivity) along.
15. Pay it forward
When something nice happens to you, do something nice for someone else. When you learn about something beneficial (there's a sale, or coupon code or a fun free event this weekend) tell someone else.
Reward good service with a more-generous-than-needed tip. Be nice to your service provider as well. Tell her she made your day/lunch/experience better.
Call your mom, your grandma or any elderly relative. Call your new-mom friend who's stuck at home. Call an old friend to tell her you miss her. Maybe they'll be too busy to talk for long, but just a two-minute conversation can improve someone's day.