Everyone has experienced a moment when, in a time of discouragement, someone has said the right words or done the right thing to encourage them. It may have been a little thing but it meant a lot.

We all have a need for some encouragement. It fosters a positive attitude and inspires people to be their best. Encouragement often comes in simple forms. It may be saying something kind or a bit of praise for a job well done. It may be not saying anything at all and just listening. Or it could be a simple gift or act, like buying someone a cupcake or bringing them a cup of coffee.

There’s no need to wait to give encouragement until someone is showing visible signs of distress, though – often people hide what they’re going through, especially among people they don’t know well. But even people who are on top of life can benefit from an encouraging word or act. Best of all, when you’re encouraging someone else you’ll be encouraging yourself.

Here are some ways you can offer encouragement to friends, colleagues, family members or even people you may not know.

Be cheerful and enthusiastic. Your attitude can be infectious and make others around you feel better in general.

Offer sincere praise. False praise is worse than saying nothing at all. Find something about the person that you truly admire and point it out.

Say thank you. This often seems like a forgotten phrase but everyone, from the boss to the grocery bag boy, enjoys hearing a word of appreciation and acknowledgement when they do something for you.

Return kindness for kindness. Is there someone at work who always is performing acts of kindness for others? Notice the types of things he or she does for others, then do the same thing for them.

Acknowledge those often taken for granted. It’s easy to bypass a janitor, security guard or clerk without a glance. Stopping to engage them in a moment of conversation, letting them know you notice and appreciate them, will brighten their day.

Random notes. Jot encouraging sayings or Bible verses on index cards. Randomly distribute them to friends, family or co-workers. Handwrite the cards to make them more personal.

Phone messages. Leave an encouraging message that will brighten someone’s day. Message911's automated phone call system makes this easy. Record your encouraging message once and send it out to a group of any size. It’s a great way to uplift spirits and create a positive connection with your group. For more information about the automated phone call system, visit Message911.

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