Diplomat, activist and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” If you strive to live an altruistic lifestyle, you should spend a significant portion of your time committed to the well-being of others.
This commitment doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture, like organizing a fundraiser or volunteering hours on end. Instead, living an altruistic lifestyle simply means bringing joy to others in your life. Whether they’re your closest family or a complete stranger, there are lots of simple ways to bring joy to others every single day.
Living in Eureka Springs, AR, joy abounds! While I had lots of options to choose from, here are 10 that I've been known to use and that I've seen other Eurekans use on a pretty regular basis.
1. Smile. One of the easiest ways to bring others joy is simply by smiling at them. When we see others show us a genuine, kind smile, we feel relaxed and energized, and want to smile back. Smiles naturally bring out happiness in us, so why not spread some cheer with your smile?
2. Give a compliment. When was the last time you received a genuine compliment? When was the last time that compliment was from a stranger? Make an effort to give true compliments to people you come in contact with, whether it’s remarking on someone’s shoes, or applauding their intelligence.
3. Remember your manners. Sometimes the simplest things we can do to bring others joy is remembering our manners from when we were children. Be sure to say please, thank you, hold doors open, etc. Showing a little manners here and there goes a long way in making others feel valued.
4. Do the dirty work. If you’ve ever worked with a group of people, you know that sometimes there are those “dirty jobs” which no one wants to do—for instance, the dishes. Bring others joy and show them you care by doing the necessary dirty work with a smile.
5. Help someone out. Whether it’s your best friend, your neighbor or a total stranger, bring others joy by helping them out. Ask how you can help improve their day; or, look for ways they might need help, but don’t feel comfortable asking. Make a conscious effort to consistently support others in need.
6. Write a thank you note. Nowadays, genuine, handwritten thank you notes are few and far between. Show someone how much they mean to you by writing, stamping and sending a real, handwritten thank you note.
7. Be kind online. The Internet in particular can be an especially joyless place. Instead, make an effort to be kind online, and share joyful, inspiring messages with your followers. Avoid negative comments and posts, and choose to flood friends’ feeds with positivity in the world.
8. Spend time with someone. Many people experience love through quality time with another. Show people in your life how much they mean to you by spending time with them. Whether you take your child to a museum or visit your grandparent, spending time with others is the perfect way to bring them joy.
9. Volunteer your time. If you truly want to help make an impact on strangers around you, find a cause or organization you care about that you can get involved with. Volunteer your time, talents and energy to help make a difference and bring joy to others in your community.
10. Donate a gift. Finally, if you have the means, consider donating a financial gift to a nonprofit organization that’s important to you. Financial gifts make a genuine difference for others who need valuable services, so you can be confident that your gift brings joys to those around you.
If you strive to live an altruistic lifestyle, there are lots of ways you can bring joy to others around you. Give some of these a try and watch what happens.