Most of would like to do something positive to help other people. But unless we’re millionaires with wide open schedules, we’re not sure what we can do aside from donating a few dollars to Salvation Army Santa Clauses or spending a Saturday at Habitat for Humanity.
But thanks to the wide reach and innovation made possible by the Internet, there are some really unique and inspiring ways you can touch people’s lives on a regular basis, for no cost and with only a small investment of your time.
Check out the four sites below if you want to spread a little happiness (and feel pretty great about doing it):
1. Love Bomb
Love Bomb’s mission is simple: drop tons of encouragement every week on someone who desperately needs it. It was created by Nate St. Pierre, the founder of the amazing (but now sadly discontinued) Love Drop and also ItStartsWith.Us (see below).
Each week, Love Bomb’s subscribers are asked to nominate someone they know who is going through a tough time and could particularly use some positive words. That person must have a blog that allows people to comment without having to register for the site (although comment moderation is fine).
Why? Because each Thursday, when that week’s recipient is announced, Love Bombers are directed to a specific post on the recipient’s website—and it’s bombs away! Within hours, the bomb-ee has hundreds of uplifting and encouraging and comments from strangers all over the world. If a kind word from someone on a bad day can lift our spirits, imagine how an avalanche of unexpected support can help someone who’s going through a difficult time.
Nominees have included everyone from cancer patients to teens suffering depression to parents who have recently lost a child. To join the Love Bomb squad, click here and enter your information at the bottom of the page.
2. The World Needs More Love Letters
Like Love Bomb, but a bit more tactile and “old school,” More Love Letters’ mission is to lift people’s spirits with handwritten notes of hope and love—sometimes addressed to specific recipients, sometimes totally random.
Their team of writers has composed individual letters of encouragement to people in need, thank you notes to hardworking New York City baristas—even letters to strangers to be left at favorite childhood places or busy hubs like airports and subway stations. They’ve also sent over 20 Love Letter Bundles to groups like the Ronald McDonald House.
Want to break out your rusty cursive (or printing) and send some love out into the world yourself? Sign up to get letter requests here.
If you’ve got 15 minutes or less each week, you can turn someone’s day around with what may seem to them like a random act of kindness—but is actually a “mission” from ItStartsWith.Us. It’s a site that believes if we each do one positive thing, we can collectively change the world (or at least someone else’s “world” for a while).
Every week, subscribers receive a new assignment. It’s always something seemingly simple, like helping a coworker with something or telling someone how much you appreciate them—but who knows much your simple action might mean to someone? Maybe they’re secretly having an awful day and your gesture is the thing that turns it around. Maybe they’ll be so touched they’ll go out and perform an act of kindness for someone else. You never know how it can spread.
To join the mailing list and start receiving your weekly do-good task, click here.
4. 1000 Awesome Things
Okay, this one isn’t so much a mission you can actively participate in, but it is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and snap you out of a bad mood. Share this site or any of its daily posts with a friend or coworker and you can definitely earn a few points as a happiness-bringer.
The goal of 1000 Awesome Things is to make you stop and consider the little (sometimes really little) and silly (sometimes really silly) aspects of life that are, when you truly consider it, pretty awesome.
Have you ever really thought about a broccoflower? Or thoroughly appreciated the glory that is that bite with all the toppings on it? From common everyday miracles (like when everything you own is fully charged) to the big stuff we all take for granted (like the moon), this site is the perfect way to see the world through a new lens of wonder and gratitude.
You can sign up for their weekday posts by email or RSS.
(Photo credit: New Life Start Button via Shutterstock)