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Lindsey Patterson

Brighten People's Day: Pay It Forward

4 min read

Make a Difference With One Word

The importance of having positivity throughout the day is widely discussed, but likely harder to accomplish in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Everyone encounters at least one person throughout the day that is having a bad day, or a mundane, boring day. Even those that are having a particularly good day could use the smallest thing to make the day more positive. The smallest of things can maintain good health, lower cardiovascular disease, decrease the chance of depression and extend lifespan, according to Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania. The next step is figuring out the best ways to shed some positive light in someone’s life.


The Power of “Thank You”


Going out of the way to show appreciation for someone can go a long way. Friends, coworkers, family or even a completely random stranger could benefit from hearing a simple thanks for small things.Writing an email, posting on social media, telling the person to their face, or sending a card are the simplest ways to thank someone. Statistics show that those small gestures help as certain studies have been done all over the world. One study shows that romantic couples are three times less likely to break up in the next six months if they say thank you to each other daily. Thanking someone for work they’ve done makes them twice as likely to volunteer again. Even a reassuring pat on the shoulder can brighten someone’s day.




Give someone a gift to make their day go a little smoother. Anything from buying a coworker a cup of coffee in the morning or even for the person behind you helps perpetuate that very cycle of being kind. Also called “paying it forward,” this kind of generosity can be contagious to continue for the person that was helped. That person is more likely to help the person behind them, and so on. For only a few dollars, a group of people can have a happier day when this cycle begins.


Be Nice to Yourself


It sounds backwards to help someone else by taking care of yourself, but doing little things for yourself can boost your attitude. It’s just as beneficial to be nice to yourself. Getting a massage, spending an extra five minutes in the shower, or picking up a different shade of blush and lipsense can really increase confidence. When you are gentle with yourself, you smile more and have a better day, increasing the likelihood of brightening someone else’s day with a smile and thoughtful words.


Help an Elderly Neighbor


It doesn’t matter what someone chooses to do for a neighbor, as long as it’s a help. Especially the elderly have a harder time doing things that the average adult can do without any difficulties. They deserve appreciation, and the smallest things make a difference. Shoveling a walkway, picking up groceries or even dropping off flowers will put a smile on their face. Even the simplest conversations can brighten someone’s day if they don’t leave the house as often as they used to.


Make a Care Package


When someone is sick or having a rough day, the best thing they can receive is a care package full of their favorite things. If the care package is specifically tailored for someone, it will be even more appreciated. For a family member, making a personalized playlist for them along with some snacks is easy. For someone sick, letting them borrow some DVD’s and including a comfortable blanket and soup will make them feel better than if they had gotten those things themselves.


No matter who it is, everyone can benefit from some positivity. Loved ones will appreciate that their hard work is recognized, and the simplest things can brighten their day. Brighten their day, and they’ll be more likely to return the favor one day. Nothing needs to be exaggerated or expensive for it to be effective, and best of all, it doesn’t take very much to make a difference.