Sometimes the world can seem like a dark and dreary place.

I stopped following the news for awhile because it was so depressing.

But when things get bleak, sometimes the best way to make yourself feel better is by going out of your way to do something nice for someone else. To make it easier, Reader’s Digest put together a list of ideas.

1. Pay it forward

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It’s not just a movie (or a book)!

You hear about this happening all the time, usually on social media like Facebook or Twitter.

If you’re in line at your favorite coffee shop or fast food haunt, you could really make someone’s day by telling the cashier that the next order is on you.

Who knows, maybe they’ll feel so happy that they’ll pay for the person behind them too and a whole movement of kindness will be born.

2. Help an elderly neighbor

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It seems like when you get older, everything gets harder.

If there’s an older person in your life, dollars to donuts they could use help with something.

Maybe their internet is misbehaving, or they need their lawn mowed, or they could use help with their groceries. Maybe they need someone to come walk their dog or help them get to an appointment.

You’d be surprised how often people are afraid to ask for help, but just extending the offer could really brighten their day.

3. Offer a stranger a lottery ticket

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My in-laws’ favorite stocking stuffer and holiday treat!

Whether it’s a scratch-off or a Powerball, lottery tickets are a pretty inexpensive way to surprise a friend or stranger.

You win some, you lose some, but who doesn’t love the chance to play?

4. Give a parent some much-needed praise

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I 100% guarantee they don’t hear it often enough.

Parenting is hard, and you spend a lot of time worried that you’re doing it wrong.

The world is full of requested advice, but where is the unrequested encouragement? There’s not a parent alive who wouldn’t appreciate the validation from time to time.

5. Make someone laugh

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My husband says to tell a dirty joke, but since that could get you fired, maybe consider your audience first.

Still, the point stands. They say laughter is the best medicine, and they’re not wrong.

If you can find a way to make someone laugh, everyone will feel a lot better.

There’s a lot to love about this list. Personally, I’ve always wanted to try the “pay it forward” approach. What about you?

Do you have any great ideas for making someone’s day? Let us know in the comments!