Feb 11, 2021

Simple Ways to Show Random Acts of Kindness

By: Joyce Venezia Suss

During challenging times, many people feel lonely, sad, angry, even scared. A small act of kindness shown to them can brighten their day and improve their mood. And it works both ways: That positive feeling also benefits the giver.

Random acts of kindness – when something nice is completely unexpected – typically elicit the strongest feelings of happiness, especially among people who are often cynical. In some cases, the recipient may not even know the giver, and the level of surprise enhances the gratitude.

Random acts of kindness are also contagious, in a good way. If you feel gratitude when something nice happens to you, you may want to make someone else feel good too. One small thing can lead to a chain of many kind acts.

Researchers have discovered that certain hormones are released from random acts of kindness, which can lower blood pressure, improve bad moods and even help relieve pain. Some therapy programs for depression and anxiety focus on mindfulness mediation, documenting gratitude and performing acts of kindness as often as possible.

Here are some easy ways to share random acts of kindness with others:

  • Always say, “Good morning” to people you see regularly.
  • It’s so easy to give compliments. “I love your earrings” or “That color looks great on you” are basics. Kick it up a notch by listening if the recipient happily replies back.
  • Call an older relative you haven’t contacted in a while, especially if they live alone. Share a warm memory with them. You can also mail a card or letter just because.
  • If you see a parent struggling to control a rambunctious toddler, give some encouragement. If that parent is behind you in a store line, let them move ahead of you, and try to distract the child with a silly song or story.
  • Smile at the homeless, and keep snacks in your bag to hand out, if desired.
  • Hold the door or elevator for someone, especially if their hands are full.
  • Give frequent “Thank you”s and compliments to a hard-working janitor, bus driver, grocery clerk, etc.
  • If you are trying to resolve a problem by phone with a customer service representative, be patient and gracious.
  • Leave spare change on a gumball machine for a child to find.
  • If someone on the street looks lost, offer to give directions.
  • Let a driver merge into your lane. Someone will eventually return the favor for you.
  • Praise a colleague for a job well done.
  • Bring a “thank you” treat to your local firehouse to recognize their hard work.
  • If someone just had a baby or is ill, let them know when you are heading to the store and ask if they need anything.
  • Write positive thoughts on sticky notes, then put them in unexpected places!
  • Donate new socks and underwear to a homeless shelter.
  • Text a photo of a cute animal or share a funny quote with a friend who needs encouragement.
  • Say a silent prayer when you see a funeral procession or an ambulance passing with flashing lights.
  • Reach out to a teacher who made a positive difference in your life.
  • Help the host clean up after a social gathering.
  • And treat yourself to a favorite indulgence – you deserve it!