Life can get pretty rough sometimes and there is nothing worse than seeing a friend or a loved one in pain. Follow one or two of these easy tips on how to cheer someone up and make someone’s day better. You’ll feel good for having made the effort and the person being cheered up will learn how much you truly care.

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1. Listen Up

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When life gets overwhelming it helps to have someone willing to listen. Sometimes, a person just needs to vent. Allow the person you know to air out their problem. This does not put you in the position of solving the problem for them. There are times when a solution may present itself simply through talking to someone else. Your job is to listen and then let it go.

2. Give Hugs

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It sounds so simple, it’s stupid. But hugging someone truly relieves stress and can make another feel a lot better. Hugging is a great stress reliever for both parties and is very helpful when there are no words. Research shows that oxytocin, a chemical that is a natural stress reliever, is released in the brain when hugging. A hug conveys loving care when mere words just won’t do.

3. Give Them a Handwritten Note or Card

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Whether you are near or far, a handwritten note or card can be very meaningful. It shows you are paying attention and the card can be referred to again and again by the person who really needs a word of encouragement. You’ll also be demonstrating to someone that you cared enough to take the time to write out an encouraging message and send it. Take a few moments from your day to let someone who’s hurting know how much you care.

4. Have a Chuckle

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The old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine,” certainly applies here. Help your friend or loved one to a good laugh at the situation. After all, nothing, not even pain—to paraphrase Charlie Chaplin—lasts forever. Use puns, jokes, or sarcasm to help another crack a hearty smile. Laughing just makes a person feel better and a good laugh might help to put a new spin or perspective on the situation.

5. Make Them Dinner

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Click the link above to find foods that relieve stress. Plus, there is an added bonus to sharing food with another person; it gives them a chance to relax and perhaps more comfortably share their problem. Budgets are understandably tight these days, so the meal need not be expensive. Breaking bread with someone can be very calming, soothing, and relaxing. It may also help get the person’s mind off their troubles.

6. Share a Walk

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Walking has a multitude of benefits, among them walking is a stress reliever. Taking a stroll through the neighborhood may be just the right thing for the person you know who needs cheering up. A walk is free and getting a little fresh air is very beneficial. Walking has a way of soothing nerves and serving to help someone who is tense to relax. Just the thing for someone who is experiencing a temporary set back.

7. Have a Movie Night

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Gather some favorite snacks and share a movie. Click the link above for a list of movies that are sure to tickle the funny bone. If tears are in order, by all means grab a box of tissue and find a sad story. Sometimes, tears can be as cathartic as laughter. Or choose a movie, such as Steel Magnolias, that is a good mix of comedy and drama. Either way, a movie is a good way to help someone who is troubled take their mind off of the problem for a while.

8. A Spa Experience

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Having a spa day need not be expensive. The above link provides tips for a DIY spa day treat. A spa day can be a real treat for you both. Relax, unwind, and simply enjoy one another’s company. Treat yourself and a friend or loved one and essentially “stop the world” for an hour or so. You’ll both feel relaxed, refreshed, and simply pampered. A spa day is just a great way to hit the ground running again.

9. Volunteer Together

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Believe it or not, offering to volunteer is a great stress reliever. Research has definitively proven that volunteering helps a person sleep better, gain a new perspective, and raises self-esteem. There are many opportunities to lend a helping hand. Tutoring, homeless shelters, or any favored charity are all great places to get started. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of a shared experience with someone who really needs the lift.

10. Host a Staycation

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Have a getaway without going anywhere? Yes, it is indeed possible. Treat your pal or loved one by doing a thorough house cleaning. Or pack a picnic lunch for just the two of you and visit the local park. If there is a national park nearby, so much the better. Take an afternoon to enjoy the sights in your community that you may have otherwise taken for granted. Explore the nearby community for hidden treasures, you may be surprised at what you find.

11. Do a Simple Remodel

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Redecorating need not be expensive or time consuming. The real plus here is that a simple project can bring worlds of pleasure and a brand new perspective on things. Something as simple as rearranging furniture can bring a whole new look to a room. Raid the local secondhand store for used dinner plates and hang these to bring a new look to a room. Purchase some inexpensive frames and frame a child’s artwork to brighten a room.

12. Do Some Gardening

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Working with plants and the soil is relaxing and a fantastic stress reliever. Team up and do some gardening, to which there are a number of benefits. You will be benefiting the environment, as well as sprucing up the home. Physical exertion is an added benefit, to help sleep better. Leave the phone inside in order to disconnect from the world; unwanted calls can be distracting and increase stress.

13. Ask Open-Ended Questions

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Sometimes it helps to allow a friend or loved one to expand on their problem and a possible solution. Asking open-ended questions in order to enable a flow of ideas. Help by asking and by listening in return to relieve stress. You will assist the person through developing a sense of ownership of the problem and in developing a resolution to it. You will both benefit through increasing and strengthening communication skills.

14. Brainstorm

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Sit down and allow the ideas to flow freely when seeking to resolve the situation. Take a piece of paper and write down ideas as they come without judgment. The key here is to write down ideas freely. Some may be silly and that is an absolutely perfect opportunity to spend some time giggling about a situation that is seemingly overwhelming. Brainstorming provides an opportunity to think about a problem and its possible solutions.

15. Be Silly

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Take time to just be silly. Try the Schwarzenegger Soundboard to make silly messages for one another. Play a game of charades together. Tie an old pantyhose leg to a belt loop, drop in an orange, and try to knock a second orange past the goal line. If there is snow, go ahead and team up to build a silly snowman for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. Dress it up or down, it doesn’t matter just have a little fun.

16. Don’t Sympathize, Empathize

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Feeling sorry for someone is no help. There was a time when you struggled and felt defeated. Use these feelings to put yourself in their shoes. You know how it feels and it feels very bad. Communicate your willingness to listen, while avoiding allowing the person to wallow in their mistake. In fact, your experience can help guide the other person back to being happy and productive.

17. Cry It Out

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There are benefits to allowing the person to cry it out. While it may sound counterproductive, allowing someone to grieve their disappointment or loss often leads to better feelings. Having a good old-fashioned cry is a wonderful stress reliever. Negative emotions are released, making room for more positive thinking and feelings. Shedding tears has been found to release more than negativity, it has also been show to release poisons in the body.

18. Go Shopping

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“Retail therapy” is sometimes disparaged. Give a quick lift by doing a little shopping. The spree need not be expensive. Set a budget and hit up secondhand, consignment, and thrift stores. Spend time together and purchase something that is entirely frivolous. If money is a problem, purchase and return the item later. Veer away from purchasing anything that is a “need.” This trip is all about a want, just remember to help your pal or loved one not to go overboard with spending.

19. Help Set Goals

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Setting goals can be a tremendous help to someone who needs cheering up. Achieving small accomplishments can also lead to clearer thinking and mood improvement. The goals need not be complicated, but rather remain simple steps to achieving a set goal or objective. Sit down and help write out some achievable goals, such as planning a get-together. Anything that may prove to be productive is the key.

20. Simply Be There

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Sometimes all you can do is simply be there and that is absolutely fine. Listening and caring is worth a great deal to someone who needs to be cheered up. At times, there are simply no right words in the moment that are soothing and not potentially inappropriate. Being generous with your time says volumes about how much you truly care. Time is an important commodity and the person you care for knows it.

21. Be A Friend

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While it may seem simple, being a true friend is not always easy. Listening and caring for another takes time and energy, both well spent when investing in another person. Your friend will come to find this is only a temporary setback and one that can be conquered with loving support. Indeed, you are that loving support. Be a good friend and help another through by listening with an open mind and heart.

22. Make An Appreciation List

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Sometimes it becomes easy to indulge in all that is going wrong. Cheer someone up through helping to show them what they have to be grateful for. This will help the person feel more grounded, more connected to the world around them and to you as a dear friend. Cultivating an appreciative attitude has been proven to lower depression, increase energy, and reduce insomnia. Even when life is at its lowest, there are people and things to be grateful for. Help through making a list of those things.

23. Distract, Distract, Distract

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Spend time away from the problem. Cheer someone up through providing a pleasant distraction. Dust off a board game, play some cards, or simply talk about something else. This presents an opportunity to relax and take some “time off” from the problem. Certainly, this is only a temporary solution; at some point the problem may simply go away or must be tackled. However, that decision can and probably should wait. Now is the time to free up the mind and think of something else.

24. Seize The Problem

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Sometimes the best solution is to help a friend or loved one face the problem head on. In other words—help! “Take the bull by the horns” and tackle the problem. The person in need of cheering up can “borrow” some of your strength and insight to find a workable solution. A forward momentum can also help the person get “unstuck” and move forward. While it is impossible to change the past, it is entirely possible to move ahead with confidence.

25. Think Positively

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It is easy to wallow in self-pity. Help a friend lift themselves from that pit through the power of positive thinking. Redirect energy and focus toward moving forward, away from useless negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions. In this way, you will provide a boost of positive energy, enabling the person to stop the downward plunge into depression and ultimately loss of momentum. Try to find the “silver lining” in the situation to assist in moving forward.

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