It happens all the time: you walk by a lady with heavy bags and you think to yourself: “I should offer to help her”, but you don’t. She walks past you, you turn ever so slightly but for whatever reason, you continue on your busy path. You have a fleeting moment of “I’m sure someone else helped her out” and then the moment is gone. Forgotten. How often do we fail to smile, hold doors, let someone go ahead of us? How often?
I had a great post ready to publish this morning. It was filled with opinions and thoughts that were business related. It was well researched and I was excited to hit the publish button. Then I discovered that today is “World Kindness Day”. I’m a big fan of paying it forward, being kind to random strangers and any other “feel good” movement. Being kind is powerful. You have the ability to change someone’s spirit, someone’s mood, and someone’s day. I challenge you, right now, to practice one act of kindness daily, no matter how big or small. Why? Research shows kindness can also make us happier. It’s good for you in other ways. There is a strong correlation between the wellbeing, happiness and health of people who are kind. It’s difficult to be angry, resentful, or fearful when one is showing unselfish love towards another person. There is an actual link between kindness and a gene that releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain. In other words, people report a distinct physical sensation when being kind (more energetic, warm, calmer and greater self-worth). This feeling is known as the ‘helper’s high’.
So now you know why, but how? Not sure what to do? Here’s a list of 25 ideas:
- Give a genuine compliment to three people today.
- Bring cut-up fruit to work.
- If you walk by a car with an expired parking meter, put a quarter in it.
- Offer a homeless person your leftovers bag from the restaurant.
- Each time you get a new piece of clothing, donate an old one.
- Email or write an old teacher who made a difference in your life.
- Compliment someone to his or her boss.
- Leave a nice server the biggest tip you can afford.
- Smile at someone on the street, just because.
- Let someone into your lane. They’re probably in a rush just like you.
- Let the person behind you at the supermarket checkout with one or two items go ahead of you.
- Write someone a letter (a real letter, on paper) and mail it!
- Give someone a book you think they’d like.
- Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and tell them you were thinking of them.
- Relay an overheard compliment.
- Listen intently.
- Adopt a rescue pet.
- Hold the elevator.
- Write your partner, co-worker or friend list of things you love about them.
- Text someone just to say good morning or good night.
- Help your elderly neighbour take out the trash, shovel their walkway or mow their lawn.
- Bring a security guard a hot cup of coffee.
- Purchase some extra dog or cat food and drop it off at an animal shelter.
- Say yes at the store when the cashier asks if you want to donate $1 to whichever cause.
- Offer to return a shopping cart to the store for someone loading groceries in their car.
The concept of World Kindness Day is to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness that binds us. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition that bridges the divide of race, religion, politics, gender and postal codes. So yes, be kind and let the footprints of kindness follow you. Be the change, do some good and know that you are making an actual difference in the lives of people who were not expecting it.