Top 10 Random Acts of Kindness

By Sarah McClanahan,

February 11-17 is Random Acts of Kindness Week! Inspire people to practice kindness and pass it on to others. No good deed goes unnoticed.

You know that February 14 is Valentine’s Day, but are you aware the entire week is dedicated to spreading love whether you are in a relationship or not? Deemed “Random Acts of Kindness Week,” February 11-17 is the perfect opportunity to show compassion to others. Even the simplest gestures can make a difference and turn someone’s day around for the better! Here are a few suggestions:

10) Volunteer your time.

It is so much more rewarding than giving money. Ever thought about helping out at the soup kitchen, animal shelter, or nursing home? Take the initiative and call them to set up a shift. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do as long as you choose an organization close to your heart.

9) Give compliments often.

Like the woman on the subway’s dress? Did your usual Starbucks barista suddenly get a flattering haircut? Say it aloud rather than having the thoughts stay bottled up inside you. As long as they’re genuine, everyone is appreciative of kind words. You never know what people are going through. It might just be what they need to hear to help them get through the day.

8) Hold the door open for someone.

No, it is not just something chivalrous men do for women in old movies. It is a thoughtful act that shows you have good manners. Do not walk through life focused on yourself; take time to care for those around you who may need a helping hand.

7) Leave a generous tip.

Waiters and waitresses are paid small wages because it is expected they will make most of their money in tips. They ensure you are comfortable with the seating arrangement, your order is prepared the way you requested, and their responsibilities continue behind the scenes. Don’t undervalue their services. And tips are not just for restaurant staff! Tip masseuses, hairstylists, and bus drivers, too.

6) Make a gift rather than buying one.

Don’t even think about grabbing that gift card. Homemade gifts are much more heartfelt and sincere. Find a new recipe on Pinterest to create, or, if you have the time, opt for a scrapbook that personalizes some of your favorite moments.

5) Allow drivers to merge into your lane.

Driving is one of the most stressful activities, and unaccommodating people behind the wheel don’t make it any easier. Drive defensively, not offensively. Anger and retaliation will not make the traffic move any faster. When someone needs to get over into your lane, be the one to wave them over. Remember to think of other drivers’ needs beyond your own. One extra person will not make you arrive late to your engagement. You would hope that others would do the same for you.

4) Leave a kind note in an unexpected place.

Share a funny joke or an inspirational quote on a sticky note. Make sure to leave it anonymous, and place it where you know at least one other person will see it, like on a bus window or a bulletin board.

3) Always send thank-you notes.

And not just after major holidays. Did your co-worker treat you for coffee? You can do more than just say "thank you" to her at the time. Too often, kind behavior is taken for granted. Make or buy a card to show your appreciation. Keep it original by personalizing it with an inside joke between the two of you or a silly photo.

2) Be someone’s cheerleader.

Have a friend who’s trying out for the lead in a play? Help run lines with her. Your boyfriend looking to join the basketball team? Be in the bleachers for every practice. Knowing they have someone rooting for them to succeed will invigorate them, and it’s the best feeling possible to look out into the crowd and see a familiar, smiling face.

1) Reach out to someone from your past.

Kindness does not have to be limited to strangers. Catch up with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Skype or phone calls work best; email is too impersonal and snail mail takes too long to receive a response. Family, friends, co-workers...the possibilities are endless. You know that one person you stopped talking to because of some petty argument? Grudges are stressful, and take a toll on your own happiness. Vow to take the high road and forgive, or apologize yourself.

Feeling extra altruistic? You can share some examples of random acts below.



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