Have you ever been the recipient of random acts of kindness? Maybe someone paid for your breakfast at the drive-through.
Or perhaps you’ve been the person who initiated the random act of kindness. Maybe you moved the shopping cart that was behind someone else’s car and returned it safely to the holding cart.
Whether you’ve been the recipient or the initiator of a random act of kindness, chances are that the random act of kindness made you feel pretty awesome.
Random acts of kindness aren’t just a simple action. Once the action is complete, the random act of kindness lives on in our attitudes and outlooks. They create a feeling of happiness, gratitude, and maybe even a renewed faith in humanity.
Maybe that random act of kindness made you smile or laugh a few more times than normal that day. Or maybe it led you to be a little more patient in traffic or with your family.
All acts of kindness (random and non-random!) create a positive impact on our lives and the lives of others. What if we made it a goal this year to make acts of kindness into a habit? There are so many ways to be kind to our fellow human beings. Below are just a few examples you can try out today!
1. Sponsor a family’s gifts during the holidays. Many churches and volunteer organizations offer opportunities to sponsor the gits of families in need during the holidays. Reach out to a local church or volunteer organization in your community to see how you can help.
2. Smile at someone you see in the street. When someone is smiling at you, it’s difficult not to smile back. And the simple act of smiling can turn your whole day around.
3. Volunteer somewhere. Do you know who are happy people? Volunteers. Volunteering your time can be one of the greatest acts of kindness that you’ll do this year. Check-in with your local government, library, hospital, church, or school and ask how you can help.
4. Accept kindness from others. Some of us struggle to graciously accept acts of kindness. Maybe we decline the co-worker’s offer to help carry something or we tell someone not to worry about holding the door. By graciously accepting others’ acts of kindness, we help to make them feel a little better, and in turn, lift both your spirits.
5. Contribute to a GoFundMe campaign. GoFundMe campaigns are an easy way to find people who are in need and could use your financial help.
6. Hold the door open for someone. This probably seems too simple to count as a random act of kindness, but you’d be surprised how thankful people are when you go a little out of your way to hold the door open for someone.
7. Compliment a stranger. Complimenting someone is one of the easiest ways to make another person smile. Maybe you witnessed someone else perform a random act of kindness. Let that person know that you think they were very kind. Maybe you love someone’s outfit. Let them know. Spread the joy!
8. Pay for the person in line behind you. This one is probably the most commonly discussed random act of kindness. Apply it the next time you get a coffee or go through the drive-through!
9. Make a charitable contribution. Make a contribution to a charity that supports a cause you’re passionate about. Check out this post for tips on setting aside money in your budget for charitable contributions.
10. Donate your items. If you’re like me, there are things in your closet that you don’t need and someone else does need. Drop your gently used items off at Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or a local shelter. Just remember to wash the items before you drop them off.
11. Next time you’re tempted to complain about someone, say something nice instead. It can be easy to fall into the trap of complaining. Don’t people know how frustrating they can be?? 😉 Next time you’re tempted to complain about someone, start with saying something nice instead. You may still need to vent, but starting off with something nice will remind you about that person’s good qualities.
12. Assume the best about someone. Ever get caught off by someone in traffic and immediately start assuming the worst about that person? (I’m guilty!) What if instead, we change the dialogue and thought the best about that person? Maybe that person is thinking about a loved one who is in the hospital. Or maybe they’re worried about losing their job. Wouldn’t that cause you to be distracted? If we start to assume the best about someone instead of the worst about someone, the world just might be a happier place. (And will have a lot less honking!)
13. Be more positive. Do you know someone who is always positive? Does that person tend to bring smiles out in other people? Why can’t you be the person who brings out the smiles? Check out this post for ways to be more positive this year.
14. Email someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Is there a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while? Send them an email to ask how they’re doing and let them know that you’ve been thinking about them. You never know when a kind email is exactly what a person needed.
15. Pick-up trash you see on a hike or a walk. Everyone’s goal should be to leave something better than when you found it. Do this every day by picking up trash you see on a hike or walk.
16. Make cookies for your neighbors. Ever move to a new neighborhood and have someone stop by with a homemade loaf of bread or cookies? Don’t let that stop after you’ve lived in the neighborhood awhile! Baked goods just bring joy to everyone!
17. Make cookies for your coworkers. Your coworkers could also benefit from some baked goods. Happy coworkers are always a good thing!
18. Ask your local church or school if someone is in need of assistance. This is a really cool way to show kindness. At church, I heard of someone anonymously paying someone else’s power bill. At a local school, I heard of a struggling family receiving an anonymous gift of Christmas presents for their kids. Your local church or school can connect you with people who could truly benefit from your kindness.
19. Donate blood. Donating blood is a great way to support your community.
20. Leave someone a big tip. Ever hear those stories about a restaurant server receiving a huge tip? Why can’t you be the person who left that tip? You can even set aside money in your budget each month for random acts of kindness like this.
21. Tell your coworkers, friends, and family one thing you appreciate about each of them. With the stresses of everyday personal and work life, sometimes it can be difficult to slow down and recognize what you appreciate about others. Take some time to tell your co-workers, friends, and family what you appreciate about them.
22. Write a thank-you note. When was the last time you gave or received a hand-written thank you note? Lift someone’s spirits by writing a hand-written thank you note.
23. Forgive someone. This one might be the toughest one on the list. But probably the one that has the biggest benefit. Holding a grudge not only wrecks relationships, but it also weighs you down. Let go of the anchor and begin the process to forgive someone this year.
24. Call someone to talk. Like hand-written notes, phone calls are becoming rarer and rarer. We sometimes rely on social media to get updates about our friends and family. But we know that social media doesn’t always paint a true picture. Give someone a call to check on how they’re doing.
25. Let someone move in front of you in line at the store. This one is super easy. Next time you’re in the store, just let someone in line in front of you. They’ll be especially grateful if you have a big ole cart of food and they only have a few items. It won’t slow you down that much and you’ll make them a happy customer.
26. Cook someone a meal. After my hip replacement surgery, multiple people offered to cook meals. I was so thankful that people were thinking about me and offered to help. I fondly remember all those casseroles!
27. Send someone a care package. Know someone who’s going through a rough time or have a tough time ahead? Send them a care package! It’s not just for college students. Maybe a friend has a big presentation at work – send them a stress ball, “thinking” cap, and champagne for the post-presentation celebration. There are so many fun possibilities to cheer someone up!
28. Tell someone’s boss that they have a great employee. Ever have a wonderful interaction with a store employee? Send a message to his/her boss to say how great the team member is! Maybe you’ll help someone get a bonus or promotion.
29. Give your seat up to someone on the subway or bus. Those of us who ride public transportation can be glued to our phones and miss the pregnant woman, elderly gentleman, or young child when they board the subway or bus. The next time you’re on a crowded subway or bus, take a moment to occasionally glance up to see if anyone could use a seat.
30. Ask a local church or school if they need any financial assistance or volunteer time. How about asking your local church or school what they may need? They often have a long list of projects and needs that they’d love to do – if only they had someone to donate their time or money.
31. Visit people in the hospital or nursing home. It can be tough visiting people in hospitals or nursing homes. But it is such a wonderful way to bring joy to others. Find a local hospital or nursing home to visit this month.
32. Hold the elevator door. I’ve been guilty of not wanting to share my elevator ride. But I’m making it my personal mission to hold more elevator doors in the future as a small example of random acts of kindness!
33. Let someone merge in front of you while driving. This one is actually a simple courtesy one. You may not make someone’s day by letting them merge in front of you, but you could easily ruin someone’s day by not being a courteous driver. Help make the road a little friendlier by letting someone merge in front of you.
It’s amazing how random acts of kindness can turn around someone’s entire day. Let’s spread a little more happiness and make the world a kinder place today.