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10 Things You Can Do to Brighten Up Someone’s Day

Research suggests that we are happier when helping others than we are helping ourselves. A 2008 study by Harvard Business School entitled “Feeling good about giving” states that happiness and giving operate in a positive feedback loop, where happy people usually spend more time helping others and, in turn, helping increases feel-good chemicals in the brain. Psychologists term the phenomenon ‘helpers’ high, a result of the release of endorphins, improved emotional well-being and feelings of self-worth. So if you want to brighten up someone’s day, here are 10 simple things you can do.

1) Say “hello” to a stranger. Smile at people in the street.

2) Call an elderly relative or friend just to ask how they are. If they are in hospital, visit them.

3) Is the person at the counter short of change? Help them out and offer to pay the missing coins.

4) Offer your seat to someone standing on the train or bus.

5) Cook extra portions of mahshi, or whatever your specialty dish is, and give it to the bawab (doorman) to share with his family.

6) Make chit-chat with a stranger in an elevator.

7) Listen to someone else’s problem (and show genuine interest).

8) Talk to someone who doesn’t know anyone at a social gathering or party.

9) Next time you are at the grocery store, buy a little gift for someone — like your mother her favorite chocolate bar.

10) Call your parents just to say ‘thank you’. The effect you trigger is far stronger than you can imagine. Watch the video and get inspired.


For more inspiring stories, tips on how to lead a happier, more balanced life, visit Challenge to Change.

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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