The saying, “kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give” has some pretty major truth power to it. Being kind doesn't mean extravagant displays of generosity – we can't all be Oprah! But, that's exactly the beauty of kindness. More often than not, kindness is showcased in modest, subtle acts that undoubtedly have an enormous ripple effect on other people's mood and comfort (and ability to generate kindness to others, too). Especially in today's dramatic world, you may be surprised at the power of even the smallest effort. So, what are you waiting for? Make it your mission to get out there and brighten someone's day!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Let Someone Go Ahead of You
Welcoming someone to check out in front of you in line at the store, waving a vehicle into your lane or even just opening the door for someone are small gestures that can have positive effects on others. These simple courtesies are lovely ways to remind others that we're all in this life together.
2. Pass Out Compliments
You know how it feels when a stranger shares an unsolicited praise on how joyful your laugh sounds, how cool your sneakers look or what a cute team you and your friend or partner make? It feels great. These kinds of positive impressions can last an entire day…or even longer. A heartfelt compliment can truly light someone up.
3. Pick Up Some Trash
If you're hoping to be crowned hero of the day, you won't get your parade from this small task, but that's exactly the point. The anonymous nature of picking up a piece of trash in your neighborhood may seem insignificant, but it gives you an inward surge of communal pride while making the world a more beautiful place – even if just by a smidge.
4. Buy a Stranger Coffee
Every now and then, this act of kindness makes the news, primarily due to its amazing “pay it forward” effect. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line or leave bottled water out for your package delivery person with a thank you note. No one ever expects a gift from a stranger, which makes these kinds of efforts borderline magical.
5. Gift a Flower
The secret to the random flower act is that it works best when it's anonymous: Leave a flower on someone's car, a co-worker's desk or on a friend's doorstep. You can add a note like “Have a beautiful day,” but keep the mystery alive by not revealing your identity. Sometimes it's nice just to know that someone cares.
6. Write a Letter of Appreciation
So often, we limit our feedback on products and companies to complaints and criticism. While there's a time and place for sharing your bad experience, balance out your comments ledger once in a while by writing a nice note of gratitude and positivity. Email a favorite eco-conscious brand to thank them for their extra efforts to help the environment. Leave a glowing review for a book you really enjoyed. Write an old-fashioned thank you card to a charity recognizing the important work they do. Your note will serve as a tremendous source of motivation to the recipient to keep doing good things in the world (and a little reinforcement is always helpful).
7. Bring Treats for Coworkers
For many of us, workdays can blend together when we're too wrapped up in routine. Bringing in a nice surprise of homemade treats is a simple way to humanize the work experience and enliven the day. Bonus points if you treat your colleagues to a health-filled offering – an effort that will not only make everyone feel good in the moment, but for hours to follow.
8. Spread Encouragement Online
We live in a highly feedback-driven world, where anyone can write pretty much anything online, while protected by the anonymity of the web. Spending a few moments to leave inspiring, friendly and supportive comments on social media or in a reviews section of a website is not only of value to the original poster, but is also an infectious positive action that can encourage others to choose words of empowerment and respect more often.
9. Lend a Hand to a Neighbor
It's been proven that building a sense of community improves our sense of purpose and happiness, and even the simplest acts can go a long way to solidify a neighborly connection. Look for ways to lend a hand, like bringing in a newspaper, shoveling snow off the sidewalk beyond your own property line or checking in on someone across the street if the weather's turned bad.
Sometimes, a kind act is just a smile. Think about how you feel when a stranger goes out of their way to flash a grin at you when you make eye contact. You, too, can spread a little joy in the world by shining as a happy person – you may be surprised at how much kindness is reflected back into your own life as a result!