Think about all the people in your life right now who really mean something to you. These are people to whom, if you knew you would be gone tomorrow, you would not want to miss saying good-bye. You feel as if your life was somehow shaped by them, that they influenced you, molded you, brought you joy or pleasure or challenge.

Make a list of these people. Write down their names and then think of one small thing you could do to demonstrate your feeling for them. If it's someone to whom you speak on a regular basis — like your wife — just casually put your arms around her and tell her how much you love her, how much she means to you, how enriched your life is because she's in it.

For some on your list, a small gift, sent from far away, will be the most appropriate response. For others, a short note or a phone call will do the job.

Acknowledging the people around you makes you feel good and also maximizes the possibility that there will be more good feeling and support in the years to come. It's like putting money in a savings account. It stays there, accumulating interest, and you can draw on it forever.

Alan Epstein in How to Be Happier Day by Day