7 Ways to Extend Happiness Today

by Tess on September 26, 2010

5012036806 681dd64fe4 7 Ways to Extend Happiness Today

We live in a culture that teaches us to be overly concerned and consumed with ourselves. In order to create a better world it’s necessary to drop our focus on our own happiness and focus on extending happiness to others. 

Today I challenge you to extend as much happiness as possible to others.

1. Make a decision to be happy. In order to extend happiness, decide to be happy. At some point today you chose how to feel. Do you remember what moment that was? Begin your day deciding how you want to be. Make a “To Be” list instead of a “To Do” list. Be grateful, be peaceful, and be happy. Then you can extend it to others. 

"Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful." -Thich Nhat Hanh

2. Express gratitude to 10 people today. Offer appreciation and gratitude to as many people as you can today. Notice what others do for you. Thank your partner for the effort he puts into your relationship. Thank your children for being beautiful. Tell the janitor in your work place what a great job he does. Offer thanks to a store manager for his staff and his business. Gratitude will shift your perception of the world.  

"Blessed are the Happiness Makers. Blessed are they who know how to shine on one's gloom with their cheer." Henry Ward Beecher

3. Go the extra mile. Notice where and to whom you can offer assistance. Do the dishes when you’re finished eating. Offer to help a child with homework or a coworker with a major project. Unload groceries for an elderly person. Call or visit someone who is ill. The opportunities are endless. You only need to become willing and aware.

"Happiness is what happens to us when we try to make someone else happy." unknown

4. Get physical.  Your connection with others becomes enhanced when you learn to gently touch an arm while you're speaking or pat a back and say, “good job.” Hugs and kisses are priceless to those you love. The small physical connections you make leave a glow on everyone's day. 

5. Forgive everyone. Until you learn to forgive others you remain stuck in the past. Holding grievances keeps you in the past. Forgiving puts you in the present moment. Resentment keeps you miserable. Forgiveness sets you free. Silently repeat: “I bless you, I release you, I set you free. I allow you to be you and me to be me."

6. Love everyone. Open your heart to love. Learn to understand and accept people for who they are, as they are. Let go of expectations and conditions. Drop the habit of fault-finding and begin highlighting the good in everyone. Demonstrate love, express love and be love.

"Being happy doesn't meant that everything is perfect. It means that you you've decided to look beyond imperfections." -T. Bernard

7. Repeat daily. The happiness you offer others has a boomerang effect. You'll notice a lightness in your step and more joy in your day. Happiness within and without has a ripple effect that touches the world. 

 “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” -Helen Keller 
Creative Commons License photo credit: Claus Rebler  
What is your favorite way to extend happiness?                                                                                                                                                          

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    { 36 comments… read them below or add one }

    Mary September 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I love your article Tess! Your number one challenge “Make a decision to be happy” is what my blog capturing happiness is all about.
    .-= Mary´s last post…H is for Harvest =-.


    Sandra Lee September 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Tess, I so agree that extending happiness not only helps us but it helps us too! #2 – extending gratitude to 10 people today – made me think of how I don’t always notice when I naturally express gratitude, appreciation, and kindness to others. Being more conscious of when I do would be a way to celebrate and bask in the joy of it. The Bold Life is such a bubble of joy. Thanks!
    .-= Sandra Lee´s last post…Sunday reflection- like a flash of ligtening in the sky =-.


    Kristy September 26, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Mom, I love this! I am going to make my “To Be” list instead of my “To Do” list! Thanks for the reminder that being happy is truly a conscious choice.


    Joy September 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Tess,
    I *love* this list..thank you! Makes me very happy to read your article and the comments above..
    And, like Kristy, I choose to create my “To Be” list..
    When my heart is full of joy, I exude joy..naturally overflows and touches all in my path….
    .-= Joy´s last post…Fearless Fun Friday- Say Hey I Love You =-.


    suzen September 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Tess! Just delightful! I start my day with being grateful to HAVE another day and the happiness grows from there – all day – and I just spread it around. Been doing this so long I really don’t think about it! :)


    Travis September 26, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Stupendous list!

    In particular, I love the idea of creating a “to be” list as well as a “to do.” Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to exercise (much less enhance and strengthen) your character. What a great way to start.


    Sue September 26, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Hi Tess,

    What a great article and thanks for reminding us all that it really doesn’t take a great deal of effort to extend happiness to someone else. Sometimes just a smile or a compliment can make the world of difference to someone’s day.

    I volunteer with a group called SPUD patrol once a month, handing out baked potatoes (we set up a table and have a very effective “assembly line” going as we add various toppings to the potatoes) to the homeless and hungry in the poorest neighbourhood in Vancouver. We always make a point of looking and smiling and connecting with each person in the line up, and I can tell you that for many of these folks, just having that kind of genuine, friendly contact with another human being puts a huge smile on their faces.


    Steven H September 26, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Happiness is just commonsense. You have a choice, so go with the good stuff.

    I too like the concept of a “to be” list.
    .-= Steven H´s last post…Mindfulness Practice- 10 Minutes of Sound =-.


    Alex Yong September 26, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    I arrive at my office this morning with one of those “Monday mornings blues” feeling, partly due to an unexpected massive jam on the road. As my usual routine, the first thing I did was to check my emails. Your post headline with the words ‘happiness today’ captured my attention. After reading it, I felt good and it gave me the needed kick-start for the day.

    Words of kindness is my favorite way to extend happiness.

    It is always good to read your writings. Thank you, Tess.

    Have a great day ahead!
    .-= Alex Yong´s last post…What I Have Learned In Life =-.


    vered September 26, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Today I expressed gratitude to 3 people… hey, it’s a start! :)
    .-= vered´s last post…Eating Well- Staying Fit =-.


    Alex Blackwell September 27, 2010 at 3:16 am


    I love number 2. This is a measurable, actionable, and realistic way to extend happiness throughout the day and to the various people I encounter.

    So, I will start with you: Thank you for providing helpful, useful articles that are making a difference in the lives of so many.




    Tax Resolution September 27, 2010 at 3:47 am

    I loved the list! I completely agree that extending happiness not only helps us but also helps others. Thanks for the share!


    Brenda September 27, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Great post to wake up to this morning~! Remembering to let people know what they mean to me, go the extra mile, blessing, loving, setting free! So lucky to have you in my life~!
    .-= Brenda´s last post…20 Ways to Raise Your Vibration =-.


    rob white September 27, 2010 at 5:45 am

    A great message to carry into the week and every week thereafter, Tess. So many people go into their day with a chip on their shoulder. They all ready feel wronged by others before they even start their day… an argument with a spouse, taxes that are due, spat with a business partner etc. etc. Forgiving everyone for “everything they have never done to you” is the best way to break free of this victim mentality.


    Jenny Ann Fraser September 27, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I am going to start making a “To Be” list right now!
    Thank you for this Tess. It is so inspiring to spread happiness and love. The more you give, the more you have to give.
    I love that more and more people are beginning to become aware that we can actually choose to be happy. Life isn’t deciding for us.
    .-= Jenny Ann Fraser´s last post…Limiting Ourselves With Labels =-.


    Mary September 27, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Tess, my favorite way to extend happiness is to fill myself so full of it that it radiates to everyone around me. When I feel full to the point of overflowing, happiness pours out of me to others. Love your blog!
    .-= Mary´s last post…H is for Harvest =-.


    The Exception September 27, 2010 at 8:21 am

    These are wonderful Tess. Thank you for noting them. My daughter is better at this one than am I, but one thing we both do is recognize those around us in that we talk with them, greet them, wish them well, and give our attention to them fully if only for a few seconds.


    Angela Artemis September 27, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I love the “to be list!” Awesome. What a magnificent idea.
    I’ve been doing this for pretty much all of my life, but not thought of it in this way.
    To make others feel good about themselves, to thank them and show gratitude and to bring a smile to someone’s face, I feel, is a special gift to bring into the world.
    Thank you for this beautiful post!
    .-= Angela Artemis´s last post…Do You Know What Your Pet Wants =-.


    Evita September 27, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Hi Tess

    You touched upon something so important….

    Sometimes being happy depends on nothing more than our choice or decision to be so. Each morning when we wake up, we can ask ourselves, “do I choose today to be happy or not?” That makes a world of difference as we are mindful of wanting to be happy.

    And physical activity (as long as not over done) always feels sooooo good!
    .-= Evita´s last post…Becoming Extraordinary- Interview with Happy Lotus Lifestyles Founder Nadia Ballas-Ruta =-.


    Lance September 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I had the opportunity yesterday to extend happiness in a bigger than normal way. And…it just felt so good!! (…I give…and I receive…) I particularly remember this little girl and her father (whom I didn’t know…and who I will likely never see again) and our moment of happiness together – that I could have easily brushed by and “missed”.

    It’s there…within us…happiness (I deeply believe this). And that is no truer than when we reach within and share outwardly…that is just expands within…
    .-= Lance´s last post…Life Happiness Lessons- What I Learned From a Duck =-.


    Simon Hay September 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Hi Tess. I’m late to the party, but I’m happy to be here. The boomerang effect is a powerful force and the ripples are magical. See you soon for some physical joy!
    .-= Simon Hay´s last post…Angels Use Social Media Too =-.


    Nea | Self Improvement Saga September 27, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I love the idea of making a “To Be” list. I had a tough day today, but just thinking about making this list lifted my spirits. Awesome!
    .-= Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last post…Inspirational Words- Think Big =-.


    Andy September 27, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I have to agree with the others that the “To Be” list is a great idea. I’m not sure it needs to be a list. I think that “to be” ourselves, who we really are is what will allow us to be truly happy. I don’t think of myself as choosing to be happy, but rather as accepting myself, warts and all, so to speak for who I really am. “To be” myself. And then, the happiness will flow to others to do the same. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement. It makes me happy to know there are others trying to life their best lives also. Peace!


    Peggy Nolan September 27, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Dearest Tess,

    It all starts with that decision to be happy! Cliched, but I’d so much rather be happy than right (so there my inner control freak!) Just yesterday, I responded to a thread for stepmoms that started out, “I am…”

    There was so much negativity, so much unhappiness. But I decided to write, “HAPPY.”

    Because I am!

    .-= Peggy Nolan´s last post…Don’t Take It Personally Revisited =-.


    Suzie Cheel September 27, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    deciding to be happy is the key as Peggy says. Once we make that choice life flows as we allow the feeling of happiness to fill our lives with love and gratitude. Love the ripple effect it is so simple yet so powerful
    .-= Suzie Cheel´s last post…Luis Angel Diaz- Memory in The Cells =-.


    john September 27, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Thank you! I just shared you on my facebook page. I’m sure my friends will come to visit. Nameste!
    .-= john´s last post…Johnny’s Angels by Martha Hart =-.


    Aileen September 28, 2010 at 12:05 am

    I love this!!! “Express gratitude to 10 people today” and “Go the extra mile” …and “repeat daily”
    Our life experience becomes so much greater when we invite others in, reach out or as you suggest “extend happiness”

    What a wonderful simple gift we can give to others!!!
    .-= Aileen´s last post…12 Low Cost Luxuries …Indulge Your Senses =-.


    Tess September 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be sure to check out your happiness blog.

    Thanks for adding to our joy! Yes it does help us to be aware of gratitude. 10 times a day that’s my goal daily.

    Yup it’s all about joy! LOL

    I don’t doubt you one bit.

    Yes “to be.” I’m running a half marathon so I know what you mean about exercise. I am a happy runner today!

    That connection feeds their soul like the potatoes fuel their body. Yeah for you for making a difference. I appreciate you.

    I’m going with the good stuff. Thanks for making it so clear!

    I’m doing my job if my blog is kick starting your day! Thanks for telling me that.

    Yes it’s a start and I know you’ll get to 10. How about the girls?

    You’re awesome;)

    I feel the same way. Let me know if I can help in anyway.

    You’re taking forgiveness to the next level. I understand completely.

    Yes it’s amazing. I wish I knew that in my teen years!

    I agree it overflows to others, our paths, the energy fills our homes and work places…just can’t go wrong.

    I agree and what a wonderful thing you’ve taught your daughter. I know she learned it from you.

    I feel happy I know you! Thanks for being in my life.

    Love your new photo! Yes an early morning choice is always good.

    Your personality magnifies joy and kindness. The people in your life are blessed to have you.

    Yes the boomerang is a wonderful thing.

    I hope your week is full of joy. Make it so!

    You’ve got it!

    You’re a blessing to the step moms of the world!

    Yes and you and your blogs are happy-filled. Thanks for being you.

    Thanks so much and I’ll be over for a visit soon.

    Yes sometimes we’re so busy looking for it without we forget we only need to reach within, extend it and sit in awe as we’re blessed with more.


    Karl Staib - Work Happy Now September 28, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Expressing gratitude is a great habit. I know I don’t do it enough. Here it goes…

    Tess – Thank you for being a great friend and encouraging me to work hard on my business.
    My wife – Thank you for being so loving and caring person.
    My son – Thank you for making me laugh every single day.
    My mother – Thank you for being so supportive of my dreams.
    My father – Thank you for encouraging me to start my own business.
    Lance – Thank you for helping me promote my latest product through an interview.
    Brian – Thank you for being open to my suggestions and applying them to your life.
    Stacey – Thank you for explaining how you use Twitter as a social media too.

    Thanks again Tess. I feel so much better after writing this comment.


    Little Lessons Under the Big Sky September 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    This is fabulous! I made a conscious decision about ten years ago to live by this quote:

    “Leave everyone you meet happier than when you found them.”
    I don’t know it’s origin, but I live by it’s creed. What you state here are ways to make that happen. I also have been on the other side where I was having a bad day and someone gifted me with that creed. What a blessing!
    Thank you so much for post. I enjoyed the wisdom and insight.
    So happy to have found your blog…what a treasure you are!
    .-= Little Lessons Under the Big Sky´s last post…Towny… =-.


    Betsy at Zen Mama September 28, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Tess, I love this post. Everyone’s always looking to be happier! I read this quote recently: “Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    The To Be List is wonderful!


    Patricia September 28, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Loved this post…but my favorite was a TO BE list….why did my mum never think of that?
    One of my worst days was the day she typed a to do list….I as overwhelmed..it was awful…when the list was done I made a paper airplane out of it and threw it at her – then I got in trouble and she had made a onion skin copy…to dos were always more important than to bes.

    She also thought the folks in the USA were too worried about themselves and not thoughtful enough about leaving this world a better place for having been here. She was a very amazing person in her own way


    Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point September 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I’ve fallen behind a bit on my blog-reading but as always, I LOVE this! My favorite? 7. Repeat daily. It’s energizing to choose to be surrounded by love and light each day. xoxo


    Tess The Bold Life September 29, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    That’s so awesome…what a list. I can see why you feel better!

    That was one of my favorite quotes as a teen! I must have been chasin’ happiness.

    I don’t think our moms had the time or opportunity to think like “that.” It sounds like you have a great understanding of your mom.
    Yes energizing. I’m always behind on blog reading. I like to do it when I can relax and enjoy it otherwise it doesn’t work for me;)


    Davina Haisell September 29, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Great list, Tess.
    I think #4 is really important – learn to gently touch an arm while you’re speaking or pat a back and say, “good job.” We need contact.

    Learning to give a ‘proper’ hug is on my list, too. Some people… when you hug them, they feel like a dishrag; like they’re afraid to really hug.


    Maria October 19, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Such a great list and great post!


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