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How to Cheer Someone Up: 12 Ways to Make a Friend Smile 

We’ve all been there: a close friend is feeling low, and you helplessly stand by asking, “Is there anything I can do to help?” Its a tough position to maneuver, but with this list of ideas, showing love to your friend can be meaningful, helpful and not-awkward. Some predictable, some unconventional, here are 12 ways to cheer up a loved one who’s seen better days.

1. Listen Up

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 Them a Handwritten Note or Card

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.

3. Have a Chuckle

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.

4. Share a Walk

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.

5. Volunteer Together

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.

6. Offer to help with chores or errands.

Doing a load of laundry, making a grocery store run, or just tidying up around the house can offer a lot of relief to someone who’s depressed or grieving. She may not express it overtly, but she’ll be very grateful for the help.

7. Surprise them with games.

Playing cards, board games and word games are a sure-fire way to get your mind off your problems, and most often, they lead to lots of laughter. Bring over your favorites for a relaxed way to pass the time with your sad sister.

8. Cry It Out

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.

9. Share an uplifting song or playlist.

Sometimes putting your thoughts into words is tough. Leave it to the pros by deferring to a favorite song, or better yet, a thoughtful playlist. It can be angry, cheerful, nostalgic — whatever your homie needs to get her through a tough time.

10. Surprise them with an outing.

Though your friend might say he or she’d rather stay in, an impromptu movie, hike, picnic, or roller skating date might be exactly what the doctor ordered. Show up at your fiend door and don’t take no for an answer!

11. Seize The Problem

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.

12. Don’t Sympathize, Empathize

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.

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