Tag Archive | pay it forward

Happiness Weekly’s best tips for helping others


You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. John Bunyan

The efficiencies of the internet are moving us towards a more insular world and it is becoming more difficult to be mindful of helping others. According to the Dalai Lama that is our sole purpose in being here on earth – to share our compassion and help others.

The Pay It Forward movement has been particularly active on Facebook this year. You may have noticed several posts that read:

“To start this year off in a caring way I’m participating in this Pay-It-Forward initiative:

I don’t usually buy into these things, but due to a recent act of generosity I have decided to get involved, this is for real.

The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in”, will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year – anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something home grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise!

There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy.

These five people must make the same offer in their Facebook status and distribute their own joy. Simply copy this text onto your profile (don’t share) so we can form a web of connection and kindness.

Let’s do more nice and loving things for each other in 2014, without any reason other than to make each other smile and to show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love-filled year.”

So while our modern world seems to be encouraging selfishness, greed and isolation – Happiness Weekly looks at some ways that you can help others this week without having an agenda of your own. Truly helping others means there’s nothing in it for you – in fact, the person you may help may never be able to repay you and that’s the ultimate aspiration in truly helping others.


The benefits of helping others includes:
–          Connecting you to someone in an otherwise very lonely world
–          Enhancing someone else’s life
–          Making the world a better place to live

Things you can do to help others
–          Teach them something new
–          Smile and be friendly
–          Volunteer for a charity
–          Start your own charity
–          Make a donation
–          Share your knowledge
–          Help someone do something – e.g. cross the street, change a flat tyre, get from A to B
–          Donate something you don’t use
–          Comfort someone
–          Buy food for a homeless person
–          Listen to someone
–          Do a chore for someone
–          Send a nice email
–          Share your favourite things (movie, song etc) – if you enjoyed it, someone else may too
–          Give a loved-one a massage
–          Praise someone publicly
–          Be patient with someone
–          Tutor a child
–          Make a care package for someone
–          Speak up for someone – sign a petition, write a letter etc.
–          Offer to babysit
–          Share what you have
–          Find out what’s valuable to someone and get it for them
–          Present an opportunity to someone or make them aware of it
–          Give transparent feedback to better performance (without being too critical)
–          Introduce people to each other, help people network
–          Give someone a gift
–          Do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return
–          Welcome a new neighbour by baking for them
–          Use your power to help people around you have a good day
–          Only see good in people and treat everyone accordingly

We’re all here together and the only certainty is we have one life and we’re living it now. Help others to be the best they can be where ever you can, because if everyone surrounding you is doing the same, imagine the powerful world we would live in.

Pages that helped inspire this blog:

How you can ‘pay it forward’


A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. James Keller

Thursday, 25 April 2013 was not only ANZAC day for Australians and New Zealanders – a day of remembrance for those that served in World War I – but it also marked my favourite day of the year: Pay It Forward Day! If you haven’t already seen the film “Pay it forward” starring Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment and Helen Hunt, make some time for yourself and watch it! It’s a fantastic movie that inspires everyone to be kind to each other no matter what their circumstance is.

Read more about the movie here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0223897/plotsummary

Last year more than 500,000 people in 60 different countries around the world were participating in the Pay It Forward day. This year Happiness Weekly is endorsing the day and hoping to raise further awareness of how your kindness can impact others and encourage the ripple effect – get involved!

“There is a tremendous power and positive energy in giving, it is a shame that not enough people have experienced it to the fullest. Pay It Forward Day is about all people, from all walks of life, giving to someone else and making a positive difference,” the website says.

Why should we Pay It Forward?
There are several reasons why Happiness Weekly endorses the kind of kindness that comes with “paying it forward”:
* It encourages all of us to embrace the power of giving
* It demonstrates that we care and there is love and hope all around us
* It takes the focus away from ourselves and begs the question: “How can I create a little happiness for someone else?”
* It encourages joy among both people involved – the person giving and the person receiving
* It illustrates that while we may only be one person in this world, to one person – at one time, we are the world.

Everyone likes to make a difference to the world, so this week Happiness Weekly shares some suggestions for how you can ‘Pay It Forward’:
– Pay for someone’s coffee in the coffee shop
– Pay for a stranger’s petrol at a petrol station
– Get the next person’s meal at a fast food restaurant
– Shout someone a journey on the bus/train/ferry
– Let someone cut in front of you at the grocery store
– Help family members by doing chores without being asked
– Forgive someone that has wronged you and demonstrate your forgiveness to them
– Visit an elderly person in a retirement village who hasn’t had visitors or who lives alone
– Lend someone your car for something
– Help a student with their tuition
– Buy a stranger a drink
– Be a mentor
– Walk a neighbour’s dog for them
– Baby-sit for free
– Write a letter to someone thanking them for influencing your life in a positive way
– Have a conversation with a taxi driver and then tip generously
– Clean someone’s house
– Offer someone a lift and drive them around
– Leave a tip whenever you can
– Buy a lottery ticket for a stranger
– Spend an afternoon baking and bring what you made to work or give it to the local fire or police station
– Pick up someone’s tab when you dine out
– Go through your wardrobe and donate as many of your clothes as you can
– Mow someone’s lawn
– Cook a meal for a friend
– Wash someone’s car for them
– Look after someone’s house while they’re away as though it’s your own
– Put some money in the parking metre for someone
– Leave a copy of a good book or magazine you’ve read in a café for someone else to enjoy
– Treat customer service staff with the highest level of respect
– Offer to do pro bono work where your skills are needed
– Give a homeless person one of your warm coats
– Make a donation to a charity
– Compliment a stranger
– Praise generously
– When leaving a foreign country, leave your currency to someone that lives there
– Give a tourist local advice (e.g. your favourite restaurants, sights, cafes, bars etc)
– Tip a street musician
– Tell someone a funny joke you just heard
– Hold the door open for someone
– Volunteer at a woman’s shelter
– Spend some time with someone who’s terminally ill
– Give up your seat on a crowded bus, train or ferry
– Offer someone an experience they may not usually have that you have access to (for example, take people into the wheelhouse/drivers carriage on public transport or teach someone something your skills can give them)
– Inspire someone to be the best that they can be
– Donate blood
– Help someone carry their groceries to their car
– Purchase umbrellas, blankets and ponchos from a cheap shop – on a rainy day, drive around and offer it to people who need it
– Leave your change in a vending machine
– Send someone a small gift anonymously
– Drop some flowers in to your next door neighbour
– Send a card to someone in the military overseas
– Write to someone in jail
– Write letters of appreciation to groups helping the community/environment
– Offer to take photos of families or couples at tourist spots
– Wave back to children who wave to you
– Sit with someone who is sitting alone
– Water someone’s plants/flowers/garden
– Donate your organs for when you pass
– Volunteer at an animal shelter
– Love your dog? Train it to volunteer at hospitals and nursing homes
– When you get flowers, share them with friends, family or co-workers
– Adopt someone that needs a friend and check in periodically to see how they are
– Buy something for someone because it reminded you of them
– Slip paper hearts under windshield wipers that read: “It’s Random acts of kindness week! Have a great day!”
– Write a note to someone telling them why you love them
– Tell your manager that you think he or she does a great job
– Tell your co-workers that you appreciate their work
– Encourage Random Acts of Kindness in your workplace by drawing office names out of a hat and having a buddy that you need to do a random act of kindness for that week
– Call an estranged family member
– Invite someone new over for dinner
– Go to your favourite outdoor location and pick up rubbish
– Greet someone in the elevator
– Allow someone to merge into your lane
– Don’t beep someone unless it’s a friendly goodbye toot or absolutely necessary
– Return your shopping trolley to the store
– Help a friend pack for a move
– Tape a nice thought or saying to the bus/train/ferry window
– Hug a family member
– Pull a chair out for someone at the dinner table
– Take a newspaper laying on your neighbours driveway to their front door
– Let a manager know your compliment for outstanding customer service
– Print some inspiring signs and post them around town
– Do many kind things for many people as anonymously as you can
– If you see a gap, change it (for example, I used to promote unsigned bands online because no one seemed to know when gigs were on and where. My business made it more accessible and changed the Sydney scene)
– Take your parents out to dinner
– Sign someone up to receive Happiness Weekly posts
– Always smile at people around you
– Actively listen to a stranger
– Tell someone else about the Pay It Forward concept.

Being happy with what you have (or how to change it!)

Happiness is self-contentedness. Aristotle

Being happy with what you have is the fastest way to be truly happy every day. Unfortunately, you may have experienced losing something or someone that was making you happy, simply by taking it for granted. Many people don’t learn from this mistake – mostly because they don’t know how and they’re not open to changing their ways.

In 1965 at President Johnson’s second inauguration, Rabbi Hyman Schachtel said: “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” Appreciating what you have makes us happy because it gives us the opportunity to step back from the detail and have a look at the overall picture. Honestly appreciating the people in your life and making time to show them your gratitude (by spending time with them or doing small things for them, even just letting them know) will make you a happier person because it gives you presence and helps you to honour your life as it is. Being thankful for these small but significant blessings is a choice, and a simple positive decision can open you to positive feedback.

In fact, research has shown that gratitude enhances your quality of life. A studied by two psychologists (Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis) showed that daily gratitude resulted in higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. It also showed less cases of depression and stress, the subjects were more likely to help others, appreciated regular exercise and made greater progress towards achieving goals.

How to appreciate what you have
There is no specific method in learning to appreciate what you have – but there are some exercises you can do to start practising.
1. A gratitude journal. Write down three to ten things you appreciate each day before bed
2. A gratitude letter. Write a letter to someone who has exerted a positive influence in your life but who you haven’t had a chance to properly thank
3. A 21-day challenge. Avoid complaining, criticising or gossiping for 21 days. Experts suggest wearing a coloured wristband throughout your time to keep you constantly aware of the challenge
4. A gratitude charm bracelet. Make and wear a symbol of your gratitude every day to remind you to appreciate the things that you DO have in life
5. Enjoy the moment. The ability to appreciate what’s in front of you has nothing to do with what you actually have. It’s more about how you measure the good things in your life at any given time
6. See every day as an opportunity. Set attainable goals and look at each day as an opportunity to improve on yesterday, rather than focusing on imperfections. By focusing on improvements, you’ll naturally move toward your larger dreams and will respect the way you’re doing things
7. Take action. If something is negative, be positive. If something isn’t right, change it so it is. Be the change you seek and set an example for those around you
8. Be responsible. Be who you want to be and act accordingly. If you don’t like something about yourself, have the courage to start looking at what it is and changing it
9. Want the things you already have. Be mindful of the achievements (and even material possessions) you have obtained in life and use them to your full advantage. Make a list of your achievements and accomplishments. Take time to reflect on how far you have come to appreciate where you are now
10. Understand what makes you happy. Learn to appreciate your individuality – no one is perfect, but you can be the perfect form of yourself
11. Meditate each day on the things that make you happy. Really take the time to focus on these positive things and give thanks
12. Treat yourself regularly. You can only appreciate the people and things around you when you appreciate yourself. Remember to reward yourself (a positive action) when you reach gratitude goals
13. Be grateful for your health. Ensure you maintain peak condition by eating the right foods and participating in regular exercise.
14. Practise seeing what you have. Avoid waiting until you lose something to appreciate it! Start a list of the things you’re grateful for – it may include: family, friends, lovers, health, your environment, your senses, electricity, music, recycling, air conditioning, your happiness etc
15. Volunteer for the less fortunate. Spending time working with the homeless, sick or another disadvantaged group is a great way to put the things you do have into perspective
16. Make a scrapbook of the good things in your life. This will be a visual reminder with pictures or symbolic representations of the things you’re most grateful for
17. Watch a powerful movie such as “The Pursuit of Happyness” or “Pay it Forward” to motivate you to continue taking steps to show your appreciation of life.

Appreciating people in our life
Unfortunately, it’s often people we lose more than material things when we’re taking something for granted. And it isn’t until they’re gone that we realise our behaviour. How can you avoid this?
1. Remember the reasons that person is close to you. What qualities attracted you to them in the first place? How often do you appreciate these qualities? Remember why they’re a part of your life
2. Tell the people in your life you love them and why you think they’re special. Verbalising you’re positive feelings will reinforce them in your heart
3. Recognise the person’s current expressions of the same qualities that attracted you in the beginning. Living in the moment helps us to really see how valuable others are to us
4. Take time to respond when someone you care about is doing something that you appreciate. Send a clear message of appreciation – a smile, a comment, a helping hand, a gift, positive feedback… it can be anything
5. Spend time each day appreciating these special people in your life and listing the reasons why. This will affect your attitude towards the special people in your life – making it positive!

How to change things when you don’t appreciate them
Having the courage to change things when you’re not happy with them can take a lot of courage. Sometimes we are too comfortable with things to change them, sometimes we have good excuses for why we should stick with the way things are (often holding onto hot coals for far too long), and sometimes it’s just laziness.
1. Figure out what you need to change and be clear with yourself why it needs to change
2. Set yourself a goal to break the habit or change the situation – including a deadline
3. Make the change happen. Reward yourself when you complete the change and build a new, positive habit (or situation) in its place.

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