Making others happy is simpler than you might think. There is a scientific explanation behind the phrase “a smile is contagious”. Researchers at Harvard University have found that happiness is contagious: when a person is joyful, people around them are 25% more likely to be happy as well. Imagine what could happen if every person in the world would do one act of kindness a day to another person. The repercussions would be staggering. You would not need to do great things, as even small gestures may make others smile.
Try these ideas to see if you would bring more happiness around you.

How to Make Others Happy #1: Sharing Books

Two Australian friends wanted people to quit the habit of watching their phones on the public transport and replace them with a good book. That is why they launched @booksontherail. This initiative invites people to place a sticker on a book they liked and leave it somewhere for someone else to pick it up and read it. After reading it, the book could be left again somewhere for another person. Why not give it a try? Next time you finish a good book, instead of leaving it on a shelf to gather dust, leave it somewhere and invite with a post-it the person who finds it to read it, and continue the literary chain of happiness.  

In Brussels, there are small free “book shelves” on the streets where people can exchange books for free, of course. If you live in an apartment, why not set one up in the lobby of your building, or why not also at work?

How to Make Others Happy #2: Giving Compliments

“If you think something positive about someone, you should tell them,” says Steven Bartlett, who runs one of Europe’s biggest podcasts, Diary of a CEO.  “It’s the easiest way to add positive things to a world that needs it so much.”

How to Make Others Happy #3: Making a Cake

Why not bake a cake for your colleagues? Don’t wait for a reason, just make it to share a few moments away from your work and simply enjoy a piece of cake together.  In addition, sharing food has been shown to increase happiness.

How to make others happy #4: Sharing your Garden

Take a little branch of your favourite plant from your garden or balcony and give it to a friend to integrate a part of your world into their world. Every time they look at it, they will think of you and they will put a smile in their face.

How to Make Others Happy #5: Pay for a Coffee In Advance

A “caffè sospeso” is a “hanging coffee” in Italian. This term was created in the workers’ bars of Naples more than 100 years ago. Some people will pay for two coffees while having only one so that people in need could enjoy the second one for free. When you order a coffee next time, ask the waiter if you can buy one for someone else as well. Some bars have regular visits from homeless people to whom they can offer your coffee.

How to Make Others Happy #6: Opening Doors

By “opening doors” I don’t mean metaphorical doors, I really mean opening a door for someone else who is behind you. “Something as simple as keeping a door open for someone else coming in can really lift both spirits,” says psychologist Jess Baker. “It only takes a few seconds, but it’s a moment of connection that shows that you’ve seen the other person, that you’ve taken them into account, and that you’re doing something to make their day more pleasant.”

What would you do to make others happy?

two coffee latte
Photo by Anna Urlapova on