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8 ways you can spread joy for free

Words by Abi Scaife

Whenever people suggest doing something nice for someone else, it can often come with a cost. Buying them lunch, driving them somewhere, sending a gift.

But kindness doesn't have to cost a thing, as we all know. So, in light of that, we've come up with eight free things you can do to spread joy to others around you.

Because we could all do with a little more happiness in our lives, right?


It’s 2023, and unsolicited pics are out - unless, of course, they’re pet pics. If you know your mate is down, why not slide into their DMs with an adorable picture of your pet? Whether it’s your pup posing for the camera, or kitten pics for days, we know they’ll appreciate seeing what your furry friends are up to.


You might think this is low-hanging fruit - but there’s real science behind this one, honest! Smiling at strangers can boost feelings of social connectedness, and will help you feel happier for longer. Plus, who doesn’t like to see happy smiling faces when they’re out and about?


Spread joy to your neighbours, as well as local pets and wildlife by picking up litter as you go about your day. When people litter, it can be dangerous for wildlife like squirrels, foxes and birds, as well as pets like dogs and cats. Plus, we’ve all had that moment of horror when you step out in your new shoes, only to tread on chewing gum or a half-full drink can or something. Spread the joy - clean up your streets. Have a browse of CleanUpUK to find out more.


We talk a lot about volunteering at Smiley News - and that’s because it’s a really great thing to do. By just giving up a couple of hours a week or month to volunteer, you can bring joy to plenty of people and animals.

Plus, volunteering can help boost your self esteem and makes you happier, so you’re even spreading joy to yourself. Bonus points if you take a friend or two along with you and have some fun while you do it.


Not everyone is good at talking about their feelings, or even just letting loved ones know when they’re feeling down - that’s why it’s so important to check in regularly with the people you care about. If you want to spread some joy today, send a text to a family member or friend, ask them honestly how they are - and let them know how much you care about them.

Time To Talk shouldn't just be one day of the year.


We’re all guilty of letting the washing pile up every now and again, especially when things get busy. But, when you live with someone else, it doesn’t always feel great. So if you noticed you’ve dropped the ball lately, pick up some of the slack - clean the kitchen, throw in a load of laundry, or was up a few dishes.

Most importantly - do it without asking! That’s what makes it count.


If you’re baking anyway, why not take those leftovers and use them to spread a little happiness? Rather than keeping them to yourself and forgetting all about them until you eventually have to throw them away, drop them off with a friend, or a neighbour, or even take them to work and share them with your colleagues.

Home baking always spreads joy - and if you’re making it anyway, what have you got to lose?


Everyone gets gifts that they don’t like - it’s just a fact of life. Alternatively, we’ll be the first to admit that we can sometimes buy things we don’t need, and it can leave us with a desperate need to declutter. But rather than dropping it all off at the tip or selling it online, think about your friends and family first.

Do you have a book they covet that you no longer want? Or perhaps your niece and nephew get way more use out of that old swingset than you ever do? One man’s trash really is another man’s treasure - so maybe think about that before you throw things out, and see if you can make someone’s day.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnership for the Goals.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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