Share your good vibes with the world.
by Dr. Jane Bluestein
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. — Aesop
Think of the times you’ve been on the receiving end of someone’s courtesy, thoughtfulness, or patience — and how good it felt to get a call from an old friend or when that driver stopped to let you in when you were in a hurry.
Random Acts of Kindness Day is coming up on February 17th to remind us that being on the giving end of an act of kindness can be just as fulfilling (and just as much!) fun as receiving them.
On this day especially, let’s shift our attention from any crazy, stressful, or negative stuff around us to ways we can make things better through random acts of kindness, because even the little things we do can make a big difference.
And on every other day, too.
Aside from spreading feel-good vibes out into the world, here are some compelling reasons to commit to doing good stuff regularly:
Doing kind acts makes us happier and can be good for our health.
Even a small act of kindness can trigger the release of neurochemicals in the brain, which accounts for the warm fuzzies we feel from doing good. Being kind also has positive impact on pain, depression, stress, and blood pressure.
Kindness is a natural and instinctive part of being human.
It helps us appreciate our connection to others. Kindness and compassion are important to our survival as a species. One kind act can change another person’s life. Your words and actions may be the only comfort, help, or warmth a person experiences that day (or week).
Kindness is contagious.
Even witnesses to kind acts experience the positive effects. This makes kindness and compassion teachable, giving us tools to reach another person’s heart and change behavior for the better.
Kindness eases agitation, depression and anxiety.
If you’re feeling down, stressed or simply “off,” go out and be kind to someone. It’s a great alternative to numbing out and can get you out of your head just enough to give you some perspective on what’s going on in your life.
Acts of kindness help balance the negativity and pessimism in the world.
It can offset pain, fear, and suffering. Trust that opening your heart can make the planet a better place.
Ultimately, be kind because it feels good, and because it’s the right thing to do.
Your kindness may ripple through many people’s lives in ways you will never see or know about, and may not even register at the moment you act. Don’t be attached to responses or results.
Here are 37 ways to spread kindness — whether it’s on Random Acts of Kindness Day (Feb. 17) or any day of the year:
1. Be kind in passing.
Hold a door for someone. Offer a smile to a stranger. The simplest things can cost you nothing and can make the biggest difference.
2. Offer up your services without being asked.
Create or download a “Gift of Service” certificate to offer someone in need. This little note can be for anyone, including neighbors or people you don’t know well. It’s a great way to share your intention to help in a specific way. (Running an errand or doing a chore for a friend or neighbor who is ill, disabled, or overwhelmed can offer more relief than you can imagine.)
3. Be present for a loved one.
Being present with another person and truly listening can be as important a gift as dropping off a home-cooked meal or caring for their pet. And if you can’t be physically present, holding a positive thought for someone going through a tough time is a kindness in itself.
4. Show the environment some love.
Your kindness doesn’t have to extend to another person. Pick up some trash on the street or a park trail. Plant a tree. Add some beauty to the world by being kind to the environment.
5. Pay it forward.
Pay the toll for the car behind you or for that person’s meal in the fast food line.
6. Make someone smile with a heartfelt compliment.
Never miss a chance to acknowledge people and offer compliments — including strangers. Let people know when a color looks great on them or when they’ve done a great job.
7. Reminder others of your love with a hand-written note.
Leave sweet notes around for family members, teachers, or friends to find. Put one on your kid’s bed, in your friend’s purse, or in your hubby’s luggage before a work trip.
8. Reconnect with someone who changed your life in positive ways, even if it’s years later.
Tell a relative, friend, teacher, counselor, or coach, for example, who had a positive impact on you how much their friendship, wisdom, or acceptance still means to you.
9. Volunteer within your community.
You can provide a wonderful, needed service and experience the satisfaction that volunteering can bring.
10. Give to good causes.
Make a donation of your time, money, or supplies to a local charity.
11. Take something stressful off of a friend’s plate.
Run an errand for someone feeling overwhelmed and overloaded.
12. Bake someone’s favorite goodies.
It’s a little gesture that goes miles.
13. Bond over old memories.
Share a memory of something you did with someone that has held a special place in your mind. Look through a photo album together, or simply relive a special experience you shared.
14. Visit the elderly or sick.
Visit people in retirement homes or hospitals to brighten their day.
15. Offer a helping hand.
Help with a household project, such as helping to paint, wallpaper put up shelves, or assemble furniture.
16. Teach someone a new skill.
Do you have a special skill or talent you’d enjoy sharing? Teaching someone to knit, drive, cook a special dish, or work with a certain app that will enrich you both.
17. Go the extra mile.
Wash someone’s car or offer to take it to the car wash for them.
18. Add some fun to a person’s day.
Invite someone to play a game with you — like racquetball or cards, for example.
19. Enlighten an acquaintance.
Broaden someone’s horizons by taking them to a museum, aquarium, concert, or play.
20. Give someone a spa day.
Pamper a friend with a manicure or massage.
21. Make someone smile with a little gesture.
Bring someone fresh-picked flowers from your garden or sweep their front porch for them.
22. Care for a friend’s pet.
Pet-sit or walk someone’s dog.
23. Share a meal.
Invite a friend to dinner at your house — home-cooked or take out.
24. Give a parent some much-needed free time.
Take the kids to a movie or playground to give the parent a break for a few hours.
25. Plan a day date.
Take someone out for ice cream or coffee. Or both!
26. Share your things.
Lend someone an article of clothing, a piece of jewelry, or a CD, book, or hobby item they might like.
27. Be supportive in times of need.
Offer to pray, meditate, or light a candle or hold a good thought for someone going through a tough time.
28. Help someone downsize, clean or clear clutter
Clean out a closet, shelf, or room and donate clothing, furniture, books, linens, or other items that will be a blessing for someone else.
29. Honor a friend.
Make a contribution in someone’s name to a charity of that person’s choice.
30. Take a dreaded to-do off someone’s plate.
Do a chore your partner, roommate, or spouse usually does. (And acknowledge how much you appreciate everything they do that makes your life easier or better in some way.)
And don’t forget to be kind to yourself, too!
31. Give to yourself, too.
Don’t allow yourself to get lost in the process of showing kindness and care for others! Make time for yourself, too, and don’t offer more than you can comfortably give — physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually.
32. Learn how to set boundaries, and say no.
Sometimes the best kindness to others is holding off until you’re rested, strong, recovered, healthy, or willing enough to be there.
33. Show yourself compassion.
Forgive yourself for hurtful or thoughtless behaviors, whether deliberate or unintentional. If necessary, make the appropriate amends or reparations, and commit to changing patterns that have had harmful effects on yourself or others.
34. Take time when you need it.
Accept that you are right on schedule and moving forward as quickly as you can. Dwelling on hurtful experiences tends to perpetuate negative feelings. You have wisdom and skills now that you may not have had in the past.
35. Squash feelings of inadequacy.
Notice the voice of your Inner Critic that comes up when you make a mistake (or look in the mirror). Make an effort to silence the harsh, critical messages you give yourself, or at least consciously turn down the volume.
36. Let go of resentments and grudges.
Relinquish your right to be angry or hurt, and you relieve yourself of an enormous burden.
37. Keep the good vibes going!
Make every day a Random Acts of Kindness Day, and may your kindness come back to you many times over!
This article is an original piece formerly written for the YourTango website to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day 2018.