The other day, I was struggling to get something heavy in to the trunk of my car. I was at a Festival and the cars were packed pretty tight. The car next to me belonged to a young family and the dad stepped up to help me wrangle it in. It wasn’t much, but apparently it was, because I remember it.
When was the last time you let others ahead of you in line? Or complimented a stranger? Or picked up litter?
Turns out, these random acts of kindness are not just good for the recipient, they have a positive impact on you as well. And when I’m talking about random acts of kindness, I’m talking about doing something kind without any expectation of reward, reciprocation or recognition. So, the fact that it’s good for you is really just a bonus and not the reason for the action, if you get my drift.
These random acts are so powerful, they even benefit those that observe others being kind. That’s a win – win – win if you ask me.
While personal rewards should not be the impetus for practicing random acts of kindness, it’s interesting to note some of the ways this practice benefits you:
- You feel good about yourself – This type of “no-strings-attached” kindness comes from your heart, without any expectation of returns. Who doesn’t love that?
- You realize that there’s enough to go around – When you give something away with any hope of return, you’re sending a message to yourself that there’s abundance and plenty for you to be grateful for
- You are improving your health – Research shows that the practice reduces blood pressure, anxiety, pain and depression; and increases happiness.
- You are improving others health – It’s been shown that just witnessing kindness lowers blood pressure and increases the feel good hormones.
And the list of random acts of kindness is endless. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Give up the parking space you found at the front of the store to the stressed mom with car seats in her car.
- Smile at someone who looks like they’re having a bad day (just don’t ask them to smile too).
Compliment someone’s hair or fashion sense.
- Pick up litter. You’re helping nature and giving your neighbors a cleaner neighborhood.
- Leave a bright note in a library book you return for the next person (or librarian) to find.
- Plant a tree. As the Greek Proverb goes: “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.”
- Pay for the person behind you in line – at the toll booth, café, donut shop or where ever you have to wait in line in your car.
- Take the time to write a great online review. I can’t tell you how much those mean to me.
- Thank the service worker who’s cleaning your hotel room, or the bathroom at the store you frequent, or busser at a restaurant. Even better, pass that compliment on to their boss.
- Let someone cut in front of you in traffic. They may be late for something important.
- Offer to help with directions for someone who looks lost.
- Switch seats on the plane so other travelers can sit together.
- Donate anonymously.
- Introduce yourself to a new neighbor.
- Rake leaves, shovel snow, wash a car, walk a dog or find other ways to help elderly or incapacitated neighbors.
- Write a thank you note to someone who made a difference in your life.
- Teach a friend one of your talents that they admire.
The list is endless. Kindness is a gift that keeps giving. For you and for everyone around you. Be sure to stay tuned for more information on the topic when we celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17, 2023!