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18 Small Things You Can Do To Brighten Someone’s Day

Because it's true: A small gesture really can go a long way!

1. Let someone who seems to be in a rush cut in front of you in a line.

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Is there anything worse than worrying if you're going to make your flight (or train or bus) — or just get to work — on time? If you're not in a hurry but the person behind you is, offer them the spot in front of you on the security line, ticket line, or wherever.

2. Send a card to a friend to simply thank them for being great.

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Friendship is a beautiful thing, but let's face it: The love and appreciation for a friend is often unspoken. So taking the time to write a short but heartfelt note about why you cherish your friendship is a wonderful way to remind a loved one of how important they are to you!

3. Or send a text to a loved one just telling them how much you appreciate them.

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Message a friend or family member who you're grateful for and let them know you've been thinking about how much they mean to you — or just text them about a treasured or funny memory of them that recently came to mind.

4. Give someone — even a stranger — a genuine compliment, either IRL or online.

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Compliments are important for a person's sense of self-worth and can leave a lasting impact on someone. (Think about the last one you received that really stuck.) So sling those sincere compliments with abandon!

5. Give your seat on public transportation up to someone who needs it more than you.

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Whether it's an elderly commuter, a pregnant person, someone with mobility issues, or just a person carrying a ton of stuff with them, if someone could benefit from the convenience of a seat, it's not only kind but also common courtesy to give yours up to them.

6. If you notice someone staring at their phone who seems confused about where they're going, ask them if they need help.

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If you're familiar with the area and someone else isn't, helping a person find their way and get to where they need to be is an easy, kind gesture that anyone will appreciate!

7. Wake up a little early and make a surprise breakfast for your partner.

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It doesn't have to be a multi-course breakfast-in-bed deal (though you'll totally get extra points for that), but sneaking outta bed a little early on the weekend to prepare a favorite dish for your boo is a thoughtful way to start the day.

8. Shovel or sweep outside your neighbor's property after you've finished up with yours.

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If you're already out and about doin' the dirty work, consider doing your friendly neighbor a surprise favor.

9. Tip your favorite barista a little extra, just because.

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Especially if they often have your order ready before you've even asked for it!

10. Give a great book you just finished to a friend.

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Is there any joy greater than that of sharing an amazing book you just finished? Consider giving it to someone who might enjoy it just as much as you — even if it means mailing it to a long-distance friend you haven't seen in a while.

11. Put a surprise note or silly drawing in your kid's lunchbox.

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Maybe you'll seem like the embarrassing parent, but who cares! It's sure to put a smile on your kiddo's face, whether they're in kindergarten or a tween.

12. Lend a spare umbrella to someone who forgot theirs on a rainy day.

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A surprise storm is a major bummer, especially for someone who needs to head out and isn't commuting by car. Lend an extra umbrella if you've got one to help make their travels a little more comfortable!

13. Leave a thoughtful note for someone at home.

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Whether it's a thank-you note or simply an "I love you" scribbled on a piece of paper, is there anything sweeter to wake up to?

14. Hold the dang door open for the person behind you.

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And say "thank you" when someone does it for you, of course.

15. Donate socks to a local homeless shelter or to homeless people in your neighborhood.

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Socks are the most-requested item from homeless shelters and those living on the streets — and warm, dry socks are essential for preventing frostbite when the temperatures dip.

16. Make a playlist for someone.

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Whether it's a friend going through a rough time or a loved one who could use some new tunes for the gym, there's something both nostalgic (mix tapes, anyone?) and super thoughtful about a specially curated playlist for someone. Plus, it's not just your imagination — there's scientific evidence that music can boost our moods and reduce anxiety!

17. Volunteer to read to animals at a local animal shelter.

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If you aren't able to bring home a furry new friend, you can donate your time by reading to dogs and cats who just long to be beside a person; reading to them has been shown to soothe shelter animals and improve their chances of adoption.

18. Bring treats to your workplace — whether you've got leftovers from a big batch of baked goods you made or you've simply decided pick up something delicious on the way in because your coworkers are rad.

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Fact: Cookies are a universal day-brightener!