Top 10 simple ways to spread smiles

Making other people happy will make you happy


1. Give a compliment

Chances are you look at things on your way to class. Maybe you noticed that girl’s really cute skirt or the new flowers being planted by the groundskeepers. Instead of making a mental note and walking along, take the time to compliment someone. Tell the dining hall staff that the food looks delicious today or thank the cleaning staff in your dorm for keeping it so clean. There are so many people to compliment, and you will leave a smile on their face for the rest of the day.

2. Take a friend out to dinner

If you want to make someone happy, one of the best ways to do that is with food, so why not treat a friend to a dinner for two? It’s a good chance to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in awhile or just let friends know you appreciate them. If you don’t have a big enough budget for going out, I’m sure they will still appreciate a home-cooked meal or even a meal at a dining hall, as long as you spend time with them and let them know how special they are to you.

3. Volunteer

There are many places to volunteer in Charlottesville, but one of my favorites is the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA. They are always looking for more volunteers to walk dogs, play with cats or clean up around the shelter. You will not only make the lives of the workers easier but also brighten the day of a cute dog or cat. Besides, who said the smiles had to be human?

4. Give your mom a call

The freedom of college life may be great for you, but your mom probably misses having you at home — well, I hope she does. If you were a little bit of a nuisance, then I can’t say I blame her. Anyway, take the time between classes or on your downtime to give her a call and see how she’s doing. The small gesture will go a long way in making your mom’s day.

5. Send a card to your grandparents

In case you haven’t explored the nooks and crannies of the University Bookstore, it houses a rather extensive collection of cards in the back of the store. Most cards are no more than a few dollars, so why not buy a card and send it to someone you care about? I bet your grandparents would love to hear how your classes are going, especially if you do not have regular communication with them. While snail mail may take a little longer than a text, the result is definitely worth it.

6. Take your dog for a walk on the Lawn

There is nothing quite as indescribable as the joy in seeing a dog walk across Grounds. When a beautiful dog walks past, you see heads subtly — or not so subtly, in my case — whip around to watch. You can practically feel the mood lightening in the general vicinity of the dog. Dogs are also good for mental health, so ask a few people if they would like to pet your pet.

7. Plan a relaxation day with your best friend

As the end of classes is fast approaching, stress is starting to creep into everyone’s minds. If you have a friend that is particularly stressed, ask them to take a day off with you. Enjoy some refreshments, watch some sports or a movie and don’t talk about finals the entire day. The relaxation will be good for you and your friend, and I’m sure they will appreciate your concern about their mental health.

8. Thank your professor

Semesters are not only tiring for students, but professors too. In elementary school, students expressed their appreciation by giving gifts to their teachers at the end of the year. However, a university professor may teach a class without knowing 50 percent of his or her students. On the last days of classes, thank your teacher for taking the time and effort to instruct the class. The gesture will go far in a world of spiteful Rate My Professor reviews from bitter class failures.

9. Introduce yourself to someone new

This one may seem a little scary at first, but it’s the end of the year, so throw caution to the wind and make a new friend! Maybe you could sit with someone new in class or strike up a conversation on the bus. The possibilities are endless. If you don’t end up making a new friend, you will at least make someone’s day a little better.

10. Give a smile, get a smile

There’s no quicker way to share smiles than simply giving one yourself. Try to make eye contact instead of staring at your phone as you walk to class. Chances are if you smile at someone, they will smile back. Sometimes simple acts like a smile or kind look are enough to brighten someone’s mood. 

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