Let’s make the world a little bit better with a little more kindness and boost our well-being while doing so.
Warning: this article will likely make you smile with the “ways to be kind” ideas, kindness quotes, and my personal kindness stories.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~ Dalai Lama
What does kindness mean to you?
Does it make you smile? How can it not! Let’s talk about kindness received and ways to pay it forward.
One winter evening, my teenage daughter and I were eating dinner at the local bowling alley diner. You know…that diner that still has the decor from the 80s, some ripped vinyl seats, serves breakfast all day, and you can walk away with only spending a 20. There is an older couple sitting in the next booth over. I briefly noticed them when we first came in. Apparently, they noticed us too. We’re done eating and have pushed our plates to the side and the waitress comes over, without the check. She smiles and tells us that the couple who was seated next to us (they had already left) paid our bill.
They didn’t wait around for a thank you. They simply gave away kindness without the need for a pat on the back. My heart melted.
Another time in the Starbucks drive-through, I had ordered my usual, hot matcha latte. My debit card was ready, but when I pulled up to the window, the barista informed me that the person in the vehicle ahead of me paid for my drink. What! I was beyond grateful that a stranger did this wonderful thing. It was so simple. It didn’t cost much. But the “kindness” of it meant so much. So what did I do? I paid for the order for the next person in line at the drive-through. I hope that they did the same. There are plenty of simple and free things each of us can do on an ongoing basis to make this world a better place with some kindness.
Health benefits of being kind
If you want some mood-boosting energy, try out being kind to others and see how it makes you feel. Giving kindness can increase feelings of joy and positivity, which can boost our mood. This can help with stress management. It is hard to feel stress when we are in a good mood.
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” ~ Amelia Earhart
Here are some random acts of kindness ideas:
1. Smile at strangers.
When you smile at strangers, they will often return the favor in kind. This creates a positive feedback loop that makes everyone happier throughout the day!
2. Give someone a genuine compliment.
Have you ever walked by a stranger and wanted to shout out how beautiful their outfit is? Shout it out! Watch them smile.
3. Hold the door.
This one is simple and easy to do, but it can make a big difference. If you see someone coming toward the door behind you, hold it open for them.
4. Make a meal for someone who is going through a difficult time.
I know the last thing that I want to do when I am struggling is to cook (even though I love to cook), so meals are welcome! I lost my dad and sister over the last two years and can attest to the fact that people bringing food during grief is helpful.
5. Send a handwritten letter to someone telling them how much you care about them or thank them for something they did.
Have you received a handwritten letter lately? Neither have I! But I know how much it would mean to me.
6. Offer to babysit for someone for free.
Do you know someone who could use a break but may not be able to afford a babysitter?
7. Put your phone away when visiting with others.
Please, please do this! We all know how annoying it can be to have a conversation with someone who is paying more attention to their phone than us. Most of us are guilty of this!
8. Support small, local businesses.
This is an amazing way to show kindness and keep the small business economy going.
9. Sneak a love note into your partner’s lunch box, handbag, or briefcase.
I have done this with my kids and with my partner and they loved it! I know I would.
10. Invite someone to lunch and pay.
If you can swing the cost, why not treat someone to lunch? Don’t forget to put your phone away during this social time.
11. Give blood.
There are two reasons why giving blood is a great way to give kindness. First, it’s an important act that helps many people around the world. Second, you get something back—a sense of satisfaction and the knowledge that someone else’s life was potentially saved because of your donation.
12. Pick up trash.
Give away kindness by picking up trash. If you see a piece of litter that someone has left behind, pick it up and put it in the nearest garbage can. This is a beautiful way to be kind to our world.
13. Ride your bike to work instead of driving.
Help to reduce your carbon footprint and give kindness to our planet.
14. Donate an old bike to a local charity or school.
Not everyone can afford a bike for their child. This is a good one!
15. Get to know your neighbors and help each other out.
Getting to know your neighbors is a great way to get to know and help out your community. Need a cup of sugar? Ask your neighbor!
16. Write a thank you note to someone who has made a difference in your life.
Thank you notes are a simple way to show gratitude. They can be used in many situations, including when someone has done something for you or if you’ve been invited to an event. I used to be shy and would have loved for someone to show me this kindness.
17. Help load groceries (or anything else) into someone’s car.
I was at a thrift shop not too long ago and a young college student was trying to fit a small kitchen table out the door by herself. I couldn’t not help! We both grabbed an end and made it through the door. I then asked if I could help get the table into her car, which wasn’t an easy feat as it didn’t fit! Well, we made it fit. It took some effort, some moving things around, and some serious jiggering. That felt good and she was so appreciative.
18. Forgive someone.
Forgiveness is a powerful tool. It can help us let go of the past and move on with our lives. This shows kindness to another person, as well as to yourself.
19. Volunteer with a group you care about.
There are many groups that need volunteers, so finding one should not be difficult. You can find volunteer opportunities via Google (make sure it is a trusted source), at your local library or community center, and through word of mouth.
20. Give someone a hug.
Hugs are good for the soul. They help us feel loved and connected, understood, supported, and valued. Just ask for permission first. If you have a friend who is feeling down or just needs some extra support, hug them! Hugs help us know that we are cared for, which gives our brains the message that everything will be okay again soon because someone cares about us enough to give us their time and energy by giving an unexpected hug in our time of need.
21. Buy a coffee for the person behind you at the coffee shop.
You already know this is an awesome kindness act from my experience.
22. Leave happiness quotes in random places in your city.
Write or print a bunch of happiness quotes on small pieces of paper. Roll them up and tie with a string or leave them faceup in random spots around the city or town you live in.
More easy ways to show kindness to others
23. Be kind in traffic and let cars through (safely).
24. Leave a bigger tip than is expected.
25. Bake healthier cookies or muffins and give them away.
26. Call and/or visit someone who has lost a loved one.
27. Instead of asking someone how they are doing, ask them, how is your day today? Then stop and listen to what they have to say.
Asking something unexpected rather than the usual “how are you” will likely bring on some good conversation.
28. Let someone cut in front of you in line.
29. Give someone your seat on a crowded bus or subway.
30. Put coins in an expired parking meter.
31. Donate essentials to your local, homeless shelter.
32. Talk to a stranger at an event who looks like they don’t know anyone.
33. Take the time to write a great online review for a restaurant you love.
34. Bring treats to your local fire station.
35. Give teachers extra school supplies at the beginning of the school year.
36. Write letters to soldiers.
37. Shovel a neighbor’s driveway when it snows.
38. Walk a neighbor’s dog.
39. Snap a photo of a couple.
I did this and the most amazing thing happened! The boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend while I took the picture. I was jumping up and down for joy for them!
40. Spend time with your grandparents.
41. Make a family member breakfast in bed.
42. Write a list of things that you adore about a friend then share it with them.
43. Donate books to sick kids in the hospital.
44. Hide money in random places for strangers to find.
45. Help a friend in need (in any way you can).
46. Buy extra food when you go grocery shopping, then drop off the extras at your local food pantry or give to someone you know that is in need.
47. Don’t forget to be kind to your #1 asset: you.
“If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” ~ Dolly Parton
It’s important to be kind to others, but it’s also important to be kind to yourself. Studies show that doing so can help improve your mental health. I can attest to this!
I hope these suggestions have inspired you to try something new, or at least consider the small ways in which you can show love and kindness. From holding doors for strangers to buying a coffee for the person behind you in line, there are so many ways to spread kindness in the world!
Pay it forward!
Comment below with some other random acts of kindness ideas and let’s keep this kindness thread going.