Joy concept, watercolor splashes as a sign isolated on whiteIf you watch or listen to the news these days, there are a lot of unsettling stories. The news is scary! We can’t control the world, but we can control our part in it, and set an example for others while doing it. No matter the time of year, it is possible to spread joy.


“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi


What are some ways you can spread joy? You can “pay it forward” when you’re in line in the drive thru, or pay $5 towards the next person’s order. If you’re picking up a pizza, pay for another pizza as well. If you’re out for a meal, pick up the bill for another table. Leave a larger than normal tip, especially on a small bill. Pick up a couple of $5 gift cards to fast food type places, and give them out to people who could use a meal.


Leave a gift at someone’s door. You could do this at the holidays, sort of a “12 days of Christmas” type, doing what fits your calendar and budget. This doesn’t have to be just at the holidays, though. You can leave a small gift at any time of year.


Give a gift card to someone who improves your life. We live in a housing tract with an elementary school. Everyone leaving the school has to turn right out of the parking lot, and drive past where people trying to leave our street are waiting at the two-way stop sign. Life improved dramatically, and became safer for everyone, when we got a crossing guard. He stops traffic every so often to let the residents drive off the street. He has a wonderful personality and exchanges high-fives with the children as they walk to and from school with their parents. At Christmas and the end of the school year, I walk, rather than drive, to his corner, and give him a small gift card as a token of appreciation. He appreciates it.


Not everything has to cost money. There’s an elderly woman on our street who complains because the tree drops leaves and she feels the need to sweep them up. I have thought about going out early in the morning and doing it, but I haven’t decided if I’d be depriving her of exercise, so I haven’t done it yet.


Take in your neighbor’s trash cans or roll them up to their gate. Especially if the weather is bad and you’re already out moving your trash cans, take them in for the neighbor too.


You might think that the little thing you do doesn’t make a difference, but this quote from Mother Teresa says otherwise, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”


When you spread joy, you can’t help but get some on yourself! There’s nothing quite like doing for others to improve your own outlook. Get out there and be a drop in the ocean!


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