So last Wednesday I did a post that reviewed the book Spreading Joy Daily and Marie Wikle (the author) was nice enough to give me a copy to give away to one of my readers. (Well, that giveaway is not going so well which is a shame because this book is full of fabulous ideas for random acts of kindness so I really encourage you to go by the post and leave a comment and share the post with your friends. Btw, that is one great way to show me some kindness…leave a comment or share my posts if you enjoy them.)
Well, her book has given me some ideas of my own of ways to spread joy to others & yourself.
1) “Me” Nights
I lived on my own for 12 years before moving in with my parents last year to take care of my grandmother. One of the highlights of my week when I was living on my own were what I called “Me” nights. They were a date night with myself. For me, these nights usually meant that I was ordering a pizza, taking a bubble bath, and then curling up with a good book or watching that movie that I had been dying to see. For you? It can look like anything you want. It’s your night.
2) Opposite Reactions
For this one, you simply do the opposite of what your initial reaction is and you won’t believe how fun this can be. For example, your friends are begging you to go with them to ride the newest roller coaster at Worlds of Fun (or whatever amusement park is near you), but your initial reaction is to say no and get as far away from that roller coaster as possible. Instead of saying “no,” ride that roller coaster. It will probably turn out to be a lot of fun.
3) Have your own private praise & worship session
When I am in a horrible mood or feeling depressed or upset about something, music is one of the things that lifts me out of that place quickly. I can turn on some praise music and usually before the first song is over I am dancing and singing along.
For the Men in Your Life
1) Play ball
If the men in your life are anything like the men in my life, they love sports. (Football, baseball, basketball, you name the sport and my dad and brother-in-law can usually be found watching it.) If you like to play also, sign up for a co-ed league with them. If you don’t like to play, take them to a game or even just sit and watch a game with them on TV. One word of warning though: Don’t try to discuss anything but the game with them. They won’t be paying attention.
2) Spend time with them doing something that they love.
If they don’t love sports, find out what they do enjoy and spend some time doing that. He loves cars? Take him to a car show. Does he enjoy reading? Pick out a book together that you both might enjoy reading and discuss it with each other. NASCAR fan? Take him to a race or watch it with him on TV.
3) Praise him.
Do you love how he interacts with the children? Tell him. Do you appreciate they way that he takes your car to get the oil changed? Let him know. When he does something that you like, praise him for it. (I bet you start seeing more of it too.)
For the Women in Your Life
1) Invite her to lunch.
I don’t know a woman on this planet who isn’t thrilled when a friend calls her up out of the blue and wants to treat her to lunch or coffee. My mom and I went out shopping and to lunch on Saturday. It wasn’t planned, but it was so great to just get out and spend some time with her. She enjoyed it so much that she is talking about us doing it every month.
2) Form a book club.
It seems like all of us long for connection and community, but we don’t make time for it. Forming a book club and inviting a few friends to join can encourage them and you.
3) Learn her love language.
I have read and reread Gary Chapman’s Book The Five Love Languages, and I believe that one of the best ways to spread joy to anyone in your life is to learn their love language and show them how important they are to you by using their love language.
For the Children
1) Spend time playing with them
I know that this one might not sound very creative, but it is the very best way I know to spread joy to your children. Set aside some time each day to just play. Don’t just sit and watch them while reading a book or folding laundry. Get in there with them. Are they playing superheroes? Pretend to be a superhero. Play tag with them. Have tea parties, and play dress up. Interact with them. You would be amazed at what a difference it can make in their behavior as well as in your relationship.
2) Throw an “un-birthday” party
Whether you have children or not, this can be a lot of fun. Invite the children in your neighborhood to the party. Set up games in your front yard. Put up balloons. Have special food for them and treat bags for them to take home. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but they (and you) will have a blast. It is also a great way to get to know your neighbors.
3) Hold a weekly (or monthly) story time.
Invite your friends’ children. Invite the children in your neighborhood. Spread pillows and blankets over your front lawn. Place lawn chairs around for their parents. Pick out 2 or 3 good books and read to the children. Make it a fun and relaxing time for everybody.
Other Ideas for Anyone
2) Buy a candy bar for the cashier as you are buying groceries.
3) Make “sustenance” baskets for friends and family who have extended stays in the hospital. Include snacks, water bottles, magazines, books, etc.
4) Give a flower to someone who looks like they could use cheering up.
There are probably as many different ways to spread joy as there are people in this world.
Leave a comment and share some of the ways that you spread joy.