10 Acts of Kindness You Can Do Every Day
Noun: The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
Random Acts of Kindness Day is observed on February 17th each year, and with that will inevitably come suggestions of random acts of kindness we can all perform to mark the occasion. Perhaps you’ll pay for someone else’s meal at a restaurant, donate to charity, or tip your server a little extra. Those are wonderful examples of kind things we can all do on occasion — but if we did them every day, we could end up in financial straits.
Can we be kind without it costing us anything? Yes, we can. We’ve compiled a list of 10 things you can do every day to spread kindness throughout your community.
Give a compliment.
Whether they admit it or not, people like receiving compliments. It could relate to anything from a nice outfit to a job well done, but compliments make people feel good about themselves. Additionally, when you set a daily goal of giving a compliment, it forces you to look for the positive in the world around you, changing your perspective as well. It’s a win–win.
Hold a door open for someone.
It sounds so simple, right? It’s common courtesy, right? Well, unfortunately, we all know common courtesy isn’t always common. What’s interesting about the concept of “holding a door open” is that it’s actually been studied by psychologists. A 2011 study revealed that door–holders tend to believe the other person agrees that working together can be more efficient than working individually. Whatever the motivation may be, holding a door open for another person is really a way of saying “I see you.” And who doesn’t like to feel seen?
Park farther away.
This is another example of an act of kindness that isn’t just good for others — it helps you too! When you drive past that close open spot and park a little farther down the line, you’re increasing the distance you have to walk. This is right in line with the American Heart Association’s Physical Activity Guidelines, which call for adults to sit less and move more. It also leaves that open spot for someone who might need it for their health reasons.
Write a thank you note.
All you need is some paper and a pen. Brainstorm something you’re grateful for, and then take a moment to write a thank you note to whoever is responsible. Maybe it’s a co-worker who went the extra mile for you or perhaps it’s a neighbor who has helped to lighten your load. So tell them how much it means! In this day and age, a handwritten note really stands out.
Reach out to an old friend.
Even though we have more ways to communicate than ever before, it seems harder and harder to stay in touch with the people who matter, doesn’t it? There are only so many hours in the day, and far too often we spend them dealing with the most prominent issues in our lives. Make a commitment to spend a few minutes every day looking in the rearview mirror. Reaching out to an old friend with whom you lost touch broadcasts the message: “I remember you, and you matter to me.”
Let someone cut in front of you.Is there anything kinder than giving away a little bit of a precious resource? Many people argue that time is the most precious and finite resource we have. If you’re out running errands — the grocery store, the coffee shop, the mall — and you let someone take your place in line, you are giving them a small sliver of the time you had allocated to get all those tasks done. What a gift!
Pick up trash, even if it’s not yours.
Environmental Protection Agency data shows that Americans, on average, throw out roughly four–and–a–half pounds of garbage per person per day. A walk around your local park or a trip through the grocery store parking lot demonstrates that not all of it makes it into a trash can. It takes only a few seconds for you to grab a stray receipt, gum wrapper, or empty water bottle and put it where it belongs!
Tell a first responder you appreciate him or her.
Being a first responder isn’t easy. In fact, a first responder is commonly defined as a “person who runs toward an emergency rather than away.” That means first responders often have to face situations that are difficult, dangerous, and emotionally draining. When you take a moment to thank a police officer, fire fighter, or EMT for protecting and serving others, you let them know that you value their contribution.
Avoid gossip for a whole day.
Most of this list is focused on things you can proactively do. This one is different. We’re asking you to be kind by NOT doing something. There are a lot of reasons why gossip can be damaging to both you and the subject of the gossip. In the workplace, it takes away from your productivity and can damage professional reputations. In your personal life, gossip can harm important relationships. But most of all, gossip can contribute to low self–esteem and depression. So be kind by actively choosing not to be a part of the grapevine.
Forgive someone who wronged you.
Many of us hold on to small transgressions. Sometimes it’s easy to forgive, while other times, we can be champion grudge–holders. You can choose to be kind to both the person who wronged you and yourself by forgiving. The Mayo Clinic has indicated that forgiveness can “lead you down the path of physical, emotional, and spiritual well–being.”
This is just a small sample of things you can do to promote kindness in your community. It won’t cost you a dime, but will pay dividends well into the future. What will you do to spread a little kindness today?