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44 Ways to Spread the Love on World Suicide Prevention Day

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We’ve all experienced it before: you’re having a lousy day, feeling like the world is against you for this reason and that, but a simple, kind gesture from a friend or stranger snaps you out of it and reminds you that we all carry heavy loads.

Maybe it’s a comment from someone at the grocery store telling you she likes your dress, or an unexpected phone call from a friend who just wanted to see how you’re doing. Sometimes the littlest gestures at the right time have the biggest impact.

In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, I’ve compiled a list of easy ways to spread a little love in a world that can often feel dark for so many.

  1. Write the word “love” on your arms to help spark a conversation.
  2. Call (don’t text) a friend and tell them how much they mean to you.
  3. Give out compliments everywhere you go.
  4. Send flowers anonymously.
  5. Leave a note for your roommate somewhere she’ll find it unexpectedly (i.e. in her cereal box).
  6. Exercise patience.
  7. Give people the benefit of doubt (you never know what they may be going through).
  8. FaceTime a friend just to catch up.
  9. Send a cute or funny video around to your co-workers to brighten their day.
  10. Make a conscious effort to smile at everyone you pass.
  11. Pay for a stranger’s coffee.
  12. Give yourself some self-love! Go out for ice cream, take a walk or set aside time to relax with a good book or some music.
  13. Make eye contact.
  14. Offer to drive on a night out.
  15. Call a family member to ask how they’re doing.
  16. Hold the door open for someone else.
  17. Put the phone aside and listen intently in conversations.
  18. Help out with chores.
  19. Send a hand-written “thank you” note to someone in your life who has been influential.
  20. Greet loved ones with a hug.
  21. Invite your neighbors over for dinner.
  22. Leave a gift in your mailbox for your mailman.
  23. Be kind to telemarketers.
  24. Refrain from road rage.
  25. Write a kind note to your waiter on the bottom of your receipt (and leave a tip!).
  26. Volunteer your time.
  27. Be honest about what you’ve been through — with others and with yourself.
  28. Say a prayer for someone in need.
  29. Tell your loved ones how much you truly need them.
  30. Start a dialogue about mental illness that invites transparency.
  31. Share tips for mental wellness with your followers on social media.
  32. Empathize with others instead of trying to fix their problems.
  33. Thank a veteran.
  34. Forgive (yourself and others).
  35. Share your umbrella with a stranger.
  36. Put up sticky notes in public places that remind people that they’re loved and worthy of life.
  37. Drop off a plate of cookies at the police station.
  38. Surprise your significant other with a candlelit dinner.
  39. Pick up your roommate’s favorite candy bar on your way home.
  40. Buy a meal for a homeless citizen.
  41. Offer to babysit so a mom and dad can enjoy a night out.
  42. Invite your co-workers out for happy hour.
  43. Strike up a conversation with your cashier.
  44. Share the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number on all of your social media accounts and remind people that nothing would be the same if they didn’t exist.

Don’t underestimate the power of a small, kind gesture. It could save a life.

Unsplash photo via Jon Tyson

Originally published: September 6, 2018
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