It’s easier than you think to make someone happy. That’s because there is actual scientific basis to the old adage ’smile and the whole world smiles with you’. Researchers at Harvard university have discovered that happiness is contagious: that when one person is happy, the people around them are 25% more likely to become happy too. “Just imagine what would happen if every person on the planet did one daily act of kindness that brought joy to someone else. The ripple effect would be staggering,” says Rituals’ Happiness ambassador, Mo Gawdat. “And it’s not about carrying out grand gestures, it's about small, almost inconsequential, things to make somebody else smile.” Follow our simple ideas to kickstart a joy-inducing cascade.
How to make someone happy #1: Litter literature
Australian friends, Ali and Michelle wanted more people to put their phones down on their commute to work and engage with a great book to make them feel happier. So, they started @booksontherail - an initiative where people place one of their stickers on a book they’ve loved and leave it somewhere for a stranger to pick up and discover. Once they’ve read it, they do the same again. So why not give it a go? The next time you finish a great book, instead of leaving it on a shelf to gather dust, stick a note on the front telling whoever finds it to read it and enjoy and pay the literary joy forward.
In Amsterdam, the birthplace of Rituals, there are small free ‘libraries’ dotted around the city - bookshelves outside homes where people can swap books. If you live in an apartment why not set one up in your reception, or try it at your office?
How to make someone happy #2: Confetti compliments
“If you think something nice about someone, please tell them,” says Steven Bartlett, host of one of Europe’s biggest podcasts, Diary of a CEO. “This is the easiest way to add positivity to a world that desperately needs it.”
How to make someone happy #3: ‘Just because’ cake
Why not bake your co-workers a cake? And do it for absolutely no reason other than it will give you all a few moments away from your desks and to-do lists to enjoy a slice and a coffee together. Plus, it has been proven that sharing food with others increases happiness.
How to make someone happy #4: Share your garden
Take a cutting of your favourite plant from your garden and give it to a friend so they have a small piece of your world in their world. Every time they look at it, they will think of you and that will make them feel happier.
How to make someone happy #5: Pay your coffee forward
A caffè sospeso means ‘suspended coffee’ in Italian. The term was coined as part of a kindness movement that started in the working-class cafes of Naples over 100 years ago. People would pay for two coffees when buying one, so that someone less fortunate could have the other. The next time you’re ordering your Americano ask your barista if you can buy a coffee for someone else too. Some coffee shops have regular homeless people they can serve it to or simply ask to buy the coffee of the person next behind you in line.
How to make someone happy #6: Open doors
We’re not talking metaphorical or career-based ones - hold the literal door open for someone. “Something as insignificant as keeping the door open for somebody else coming up behind you can really boost their mood,” says psychologist Jess Baker. “It only takes a few seconds but it is a moment of connection that shows you have seen them, acknowledged them and are doing something to make their day that bit easier.”