I was once on the receiving end of a kindness that I’ll never forget.
Someone I barely knew did a small thing that, by itself, wouldn’t even be described as kindness. They’ve since told me they didn’t even realize they were doing it.
But it had such a lasting effect on my life that I still remember it.
I’ve used this as the example for the way I live. I might not always be able to, but I chose kindness if I’m able.
It’s a mantra I’ve repeated a thousand times to my step kids when they decide to irritate their sibling and be selfish (like kids sometimes do)…
Because let’s be honest, being kind is not necessarily difficult.
Sometimes being kind is the absence of being selfish. Or the simple act of thinking about someone else. It can even look as simple as ‘having manners’.
It doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture.
And really, once you set your mindset to ‘Kind,’ you’ll notice even more opportunities throughout your day to reach out and be kind to someone.
Benefiting from Helping Others
My husband and I watch a show on Netflix called Lucifer. As you might guess from the title, it’s about the Devil. In this show, he’s a charmingly handsome British man with a penchant for trouble.
In one episode, he discovers that he very much enjoys doing kind deeds because it makes him feel good. Of course, he takes it to the extreme and hilarity ensues.
But Helper’s High is a true phenomenon where your brain experiences a rush of endorphins that can react much like a drug after you do something kind. (Source)
In other words, being kind is like an addictive drug.
Once you get started, it’s hard to stop. And unlike drugs, it’s for all the right reasons!
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So How Can I Be Kind?
As I mentioned previously, being kind is not always big gestures and over-the-top enthusiasm.
Here are some simple everyday ways of including kindness in your day.
- Stop to let a pedestrian cross the street or to allow another driver into the traffic.
- Say please and thank you.
- Say good morning and good night to your colleagues.
- Smile at a stranger.
- Hold the door for the next person.
- Hold the elevator.
- Let someone with only a few items go in front of you in the grocery store.
- Do a coffee run for your colleagues.
- Hug your loved ones.
- Push the trash bins out for your neighbors.
- Mow your elderly neighbor’s lawn.
- If you’re going to the store, ask your neighbor if you can pick anything up for them.
- Volunteer at your local soup kitchen or shelter.
- Be the bigger person and let the other guy have the coveted parking space.
- Recommend a book to someone.
- Send a card through the mail to someone.
- Talk to the lonely elderly person.
- Give your seat to someone on the bus or subway.
- Ask a stressed-out co-worker if you can help.
- Help wash the cups after a meeting.
- Genuinely listen to someone.
- If the photocopier is running on empty, replace the toner and fill the paper bin.
- Help someone who doesn’t have a car run errands or get out of the house.
- Carpool with someone.
- Send positive feedback to a business instead of negative.
- Buy surprise flowers for your partner.
- Compliment someone on their well-behaved kids.
- Offer to fix something you have the ability to fix.
- Give some coins to a street entertainer.
- Pledge to stop complaining for a week.
- Give an encouraging smile to a mom whose child is crying or throwing a fit in public.
- Join your company’s mentor or buddy program.
- Let someone merge at the last minute.
- Leave a book or magazine on the subway or in a bus station.
- Donate your excess art supplies or craft materials to an elementary school.
- Offer to take a photo of that couple so they don’t have to take a selfie.
- Encourage your kids to sort through their stuff and donate items in good condition to charity.
- Leave a bigger tip.
- Donate money to your favorite charity or non-government organization.
- Hug someone who needs it.
- Pay for the person behind you in line.
- Notice what your partner or colleagues are wearing and pay a few compliments.
- Talk to someone new.
- Ask friends or colleagues how they are, and listen to the answers.
- Offer someone a hand wipe or sanitizer.
- Put down your phone and listen to the person talking to you.
- Pick weeds from your neighbor’s yard.
- Set water out for neighbors walking dogs.
- Reach out to family members or friends, send a text message, or call them to see how they are.
- Thank your delivery person or mail person.
- Clean up your neighborhood. If you see trash in the street, pick it up and put it in the bin.
- Buy lemonade at the lemonade stand.
- Return your shopping cart.
- Use social media to lift someone up (compliment, encouragement, etc).
- Make eye contact and smile.
- Ask if you can give someone’s dog a treat.
- Leave a note for someone in a book.
- Share positive stories on Facebook or Twitter.
- Donate food or clothes to a local shelter.
- Give something back in better shape than when you borrow it.
- Tell someone their tag is sticking out or they have food in their teeth.
- Lend something without expecting compensation.
- Leave the last cookie in the bag.
- Use AmazonSmiles.
- Take flowers to a graveyard or nursing home.
- Cut out an article and send it to someone.
- Lend someone your extra umbrella.
- Defend someone who is being gossiped about.
- Put a dollar or two into your Redbox return so the next person can buy candy.
- As for the recipe of a dish someone made that you love.
- Introduce people to each other.
- Buy a bottle of water (or any type of supplies) for a homeless person.
- Ask, “how can I help?” and mean it.
- Have your children practice Random Acts Of Kindness.
- Plant a tree.
- Text someone you’re thinking about.
- Share a pleasant memory with someone.
- Water someone’s plants.
- Share a study guide or resource.
- Pull weeds in a community garden.
- Bring someone a souvenir.
- Cheer on a teammate or co-worker.
- Hand-make a gift for someone.
- Clean the gym equipment when you’re done.
- Help the cashier bag your groceries.
- Laugh with someone.
- Ask a question and listen to the answer.
- Tell someone they dropped something.
- Include the outcast in a group conversation.
- Pray for someone who needs it.
- Leave your change for the next person.
- Teach someone about your hobby.
- Turn the music down so you don’t bother your neighbor.
- Sign a petition on Change.org.
- Read and subscribe to a blog.
- Answer someone’s question to the best of your ability.
- Reconnect with an old friend.
- Sign up to spend time with the animals at the shelter.
- Fill someone’s parking meter.
- Write letters to soldiers.
- Shovel or sweep someone’s driveway.
- Give away the coupons you aren’t going to use.
Bringing It All Together – How To Start
You don’t have to go from 0 to 1000 in 5 minutes. Try working in one of these ideas each day.
Then, after a small amount of time has passed, maybe work in 2 a day.
Before you know it, you’ll have a habit of spreading kindness and it won’t take any extra through from you.
I know this sounds cheesy. But as I’m fond of saying, “Life has curves.”
If you can be the person to help someone get past those curves, you should!
So in the interest of being MORE cheesy, just remember…
If you want change in the world, be that change. And there is almost no better way to do that than through kindness.
And if you’re overwhelmed and looking for ways to stay calm, check out these steps to stay calm in the storm of life.
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