With so much violence in the world, it’s nice to perform random acts of kindness and let that be the dominant force that permeates the globe. Small actions done with care and a pure heart have a tremendous value, and can influence the world around you as well as the world at large. Here is a list of things to try today to make it a brighter place.
Photo: Flickr (stillwanderer)
1. Give Free Hugs. One way to get immediate gratification from your random acts of kindness is to advertise that you’re giving free hugs. It’s the gift that is immediately reciprocated, and will make you feel great while you’re doing it, and long after.
2. Help a friend (or stranger) move. A friend in need’s a friend indeed, and your friend is definitely in need when it comes time to move. It doesn’t have to be a friend either, you can help a neighbor out if you notice a moving van, or at least offer your services.
3. Let people over on the freeway. This is a tough one, but if everyone committed this act of kindness there would be an instant end to nearly every traffic jam. Don’t worry if the person behind you doesn’t approve, kindness starts with you and the person you let in will likely let someone else in.
4. Go through your wardrobe and donate what you don’t need. The key is donating what you don’t need, not just what you don’t like or don’t wear anymore. If your wardrobe has ballooned in size it’s time to donate the excess so that those that truly need it and will use it can do so.
5. Babysit for free. If you know of a new parent that could use a night off, be sure to let them know you’re available if they need a sitter. Let them know you don’t need to be compensated, and you’ll feel good knowing that they’ll be a more effective parent after some down time.
6. Use a pen and paper to brighten someone’s day. With all of the technology we have, the art of writing a thank you letter, or a note of appreciation is becoming less common. Use some old school tools and you’ll show that you took the extra time and effort to put your heart into the gesture.
7. Refer your friends to qualified service providers. If you know of a contractor or other service provider that does a good job, be sure to recommend them to your friends when the opportunity comes up. These businesses thrive on referrals and positive word of mouth so you’ll be helping them stay in business.
8. See if your neighbor has enough. If you’re doing an outdoor chore you can always give a peek to see if your neighbor needs some help with it, especially if you know they don’t get around easily. This could mean raking some extra leaves or shoveling a bit more snow, but it will make a huge difference to them.
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9. Give good tips. If you’ve received good service be sure to tip your server accordingly. In many restaurants they’re relying on your tips to make their night worthwhile, and if they’ve gone out of their way to do a good job they are hoping you’ll tip them a bit extra to show your appreciation.
10. Let someone off the hook today. If you’ve been holding a grudge or punishing someone for a misdeed, why not let them off the hook and see how it makes both of you feel? Life isn’t meant to be lived with resentment in your heart, and others will love the idea of being given a second chance.
11. Share what you know. Don’t keep your talents and knowledge to yourself, pass it on so that others can benefit from what you’ve learned. You can teach someone how to play a musical instrument, or start a blog that shares the information you’ve acquired from a lifetime of hard work.
12. Offer your seat to someone that needs it. If you find yourself taking a crowded form of transportation, check to see who’s standing and offer your seat to anyone that looks like they’re struggling to stay upright. It might not always be an older person or a mother with a child, so use your best judgement.
13. Create necessity packs and give them to the homeless. You’d be surprised how many things a homeless person learns to go without, and making simple packs full of life’s necessities is a great gesture. Drop them off at your local homeless shelter so they can do the distributing.
14. Make “mixtapes” for the favorite people in your life. Mixtapes might be a little outdated, but you can make playlists with songs that remind you of fun times with your friends and family, or you can burn them to a CD if you want to hand over a hard copy.
15. Use technology to be there when you can’t actually be there. Brighten up a friend or family member’s day by checking in on Facetime, Skype, or Hanging Out in Gmail. They’ll be glad that you’re taking time out of your day to see how they’re doing, and video chatting makes it seem like you’re in the room with them.
16. Say hello to people you don’t know. It’s OK, they probably won’t bite. For some reason most strangers will try to ignore each other unless forced to interact. You can break this trend by just giving a simple “hello” or “hi”. Nothing more needs to come of it, but you may find yourself in a conversation in no time.
17. Look for some aspect to appreciate in someone you don’t really like. It’s easy enough to rattle off a list of things we don’t like about someone, but take the challenge of finding something you do like about them, and you’ll instantly change your vibration towards them, which could actually help your interactions with them.
18. Help others find true love. Playing matchmaker may not be your typical M.O., but if you’re aware that two people like each other, but haven’t been able to connect yet, play the part and make it happen for them. Or maybe you have two people in mind that don’t know each other, but would seemingly be a good fit.
19. Be supportive of someone that’s striving for a goal. You don’t have to know someone well in order to give your support. It’s always nice to get support when you’re striving for something important, regardless of where it comes from. Your positive cheering will only make the world a better place.
20. Look back to see if someone needs you to hold the door. Each time you enter or exit a building, give a quick look over your shoulder to see if someone is behind you and pause so you can hold the door for them. It’s an easy habit to get into, and you’ll be surprised how often you’ll hold the door.
21. Buy a goat. When you woke up this morning you probably didn’t think you’d be buying a goat. How random is that? But a goat makes the perfect donation to places of the world that need food and want to learn how to make it on their own, rather than getting continual handouts.
22. Volunteer at a nursing home. While it may not sound like the most fun thing you can do, there are definitely those that would benefit from your company. As a volunteer you don’t have to do anything that doesn’t agree with you, and in many locations you’ll just play some card games and be an avid listener.
23. Get to know your neighbors. If you haven’t met your neighbors yet, pay them a visit and introduce yourself. Showing an interest in the people that live near you is a great way of building a community spirit, and you may even make a new friend in the process.
24. Be a foster home for an animal in need. Pet shelters are always in need of warm and caring homes to take in a dog or cat for a period of time while they heal up and get ready for the adoption process. If you think you can offer this type of environment get in touch with your local shelter for the details.
25. Call your mother. Or your father, both would love to hear from you. It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of life and forget to check in with the people that care about us the most. You can even go a step further and validate your mom or dad and that will really make their day.
26. Provide roadside assistance. Not everyone is a AAA member, and if you notice someone that is having car trouble on the side of the road, pull over and see if they’re OK. They could need a favor as simple as making a phone call from your cell phone so you don’t need to know how to change a tire to offer your help.
27. Listen intently without waiting for your chance to speak. You’ve been given two ears and one mouth and you should use them accordingly. Perhaps you’ve heard that old wisdom before, but it can really come in handy when you’ve got someone in front of you that really needs you to lend an ear and show some compassion.
28. Smile all day. How is this a random act of kindness if you aren’t actually doing anything? By smiling more often it’s proven that you’ll feel better more often. These positive feelings will translate to a greater willingness to perform new acts of kindness as they pop into your head.