Random Acts of Kindness Day
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible”~ The 14th Dalai Lama
(This is a repost of 25 Acts of Kindness on the Fabulous Boomer Sisters website. It has been updated for this article)
Yesterday was Random Acts of Kindness Day. Did you perform an RAK (random act of kindness)? Or were you the beneficiary of an RAK?
According to its website, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, is a small non-profit organization whose mission is to Make Kindness the Norm. Now more than 40 years old, the Random Acts of Kindness movement continues to change the world by promoting kindness whether it is at home, at school, at work — everywhere in society.
The Foundation provides resources and tools for learning and practicing kindness in our every day lives.
February 17 is recognized as Random Acts of Kindness Day, but there is no reason not to practice kindness all year round. Find out how you can become a RAKtivist today.
Watch what happens when you do something nice for one person!
REASONS TO PRACTICE KINDNESS 365 DAYS A YEAR — NOT JUST ON RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS DAY
There are many health benefits to being kind. Research has shown that being kind can raise the levels of serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins in your bloodstream. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that elevates feelings of satisfaction and well-being. Oxytocin helps lower blood pressure which helps to protect your heart. Oxytocin also helps guard against other ailments such as diabetes, cancer, and migraines by reducing inflammation. Kindness also releases endorphins which induce that warm, fuzzy feeling known as “helper’s high.”
Acts of kindness, even small ones, can trigger the release of these natural chemicals in your body that work to improve your mood, ease anxiety, lower stress and help with chronic pain. These neurotransmitters help you to feel more energetic, happy, and content.
Did you know that practicing kindness can help you live longer? Higher levels of these feel-good chemicals can help improve cardiovascular health, prevent illnesses, and lower stress. Studies have also shown that people who have strong relationships with family and friends have a lower risk of heart disease. Being kind helps to build close ties and tight networks that are essential to a good life.
Watch The Scientific Power of Kindness by Simon Sinek.
MAKE KINDNESS THE NORM
Don’t you find it heartening that a simple act of kindness can be good for others, good for the world, and good for you? Doesn’t it make sense, then, to make kindness the norm every day?
Did you know that acts of kindness benefit the recipient, the giver and anyone who sees the event? Studies have shown that positive effects (known as moral elevation) are experienced by everyone who witnesses an act of altruism, not only the giver and the recipient. Simply observing an act of kindness lifts our spirits and inspires us to pay it forward. Do you think this is where the old adage — “one good turn deserves another“— originates from?
That’s one good reason to be kind, but sometimes it can be tricky to perform “random acts of kindness.” Sometimes we don’t see the opportunities to reach out that are presented to us. Sometimes we need to make those opportunities. Acts of kindness can be as simple as asking someone how their day is going, or giving up your seat on transit, or holding the elevator door for someone.
Check out the following 25 easy ways to show more kindness every day. Before you know it practicing random acts of kindness will become a habit and, you won’t have any trouble finding creative ways to spread joy and love wherever you go.
25 ACTS OF KINDNESS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
Be Kind to Yourself
- Forgive yourself for past mistakes and banish that negative self-talk. Isn’t it time your inner critic met your inner cheerleader? Remind yourself how amazing, strong, and beautiful you are. Recognize and applaud your accomplishments, no matter how small.
- Take good care of yourself. Make sure you have a healthy diet. Get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night. Drink more water. Exercise and make time for nurturing your relationships. Try to find your Zen with a little meditation.
- Permit yourself to engage in some “me” time. Light some candles. Soak in a tub filled with warm water and scented bath oils. Then cuddle up on the couch in a fluffy blanket with a hot cup of tea (or coffee) and a good book. Ahh… Bliss!
- Take a leap a leap of faith. Fear of the unknown is a valid emotion. But the payoff for jumping in with both feet and being all in is worth the challenge.
Say Something Nice
- When you are out and about, try to observe the people around you, see who may need an encouraging word or friendly grin. Pay someone a compliment: comment to a parent how charming and cheerful their child is; Tell your barista she has a lovely smile; or remark to your waitperson at lunch how much you appreciate their service. You might be surprised at the response you get.
- Tell your boss about a great employee. Spread a little kindness at the office. Your boss will like hearing about a good employee. And your co-worker will feel appreciated by your gesture.
- Write words of encouragement and affirmations on a pad of post-it notes and carry them with you in your bag or pocket. Stick them in public places where they will be seen and enjoyed. A bright neon coloured square with “You’re worth it” scrawled across it and stuck on the mirror in a restaurant bathroom will surely make someone feel wonderful.
- For three days say only positive things about others. See what happens. (reworked from the Yoko Ono: Growing Freedom art exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery)
- Send flowers to the receptionist at your office anonymously; make two lunches and give one away; pay for the coffee/drink for the person in line behind you at Starbucks. Drop your change in a donation jar. Treat a friend to a movie — just because.
- Leave a book you love where someone can find it and enjoy it too. Include a cute bookmark. You’ll be spreading kindness and fostering the joy of reading!
- Speaking of books — deposit a few of your old books in a “little free library”
- Buy some canned /shelf-stable food for your local food bank.
Lend a Hand
- Volunteer in your community. Studies have shown that olders who contribute their time to community organizations live longer and are happier. Helping others and yourself, too, sounds like a win/win!
- Organize a community clean-up of your neighbourhood park. Kids love to do this — get your grandchildren or other children you know to help.
- Offer to do grocery shopping for a housebound neighbour or friend.
- Organize a sock drive for a local shelter. Underhoused people are often without clean, dry socks. Canvas local businesses for help procuring this much-needed item.
“Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”~ Anne Herbert
- Smile at everyone you meet; say hello, to passersby; send a friend a “thinking of you” card.
- Hug someone (as Charlotte Diamond sings, 4 hugs a day, that’s the minimum – link opens a YouTube video). A good hug cures a lot of ills.
- Compliment a co-worker for the work they do. Tell your friends and family how much you appreciate them and why.
- Do something special for your significant other. It is easy in our busy lives to take our loved ones for granted. To show your love and appreciation, why not do something special to show them how much you care. Cook their favourite meal, buy them that book they’ve been wanting to read or do their chores on the weekend. They’ll love you for it!
- Write a positive online review of a business. People are quick to post their complaints online, so it’s helpful for any business to hear from satisfied customers.
- Make a connection by commenting on a blog post you’ve read and enjoyed.
- Bake a cake or a delicious loaf of no-knead bread. Take your scrumptious goodies to a neighbour or share them with your co-workers. Who wouldn’t smile when given a home-baked cookie?
- Spend your dollars at local small businesses. Shopping at independent stores and small businesses helps to support your local economy.
- Join a community garden. Growing your own food is very gratifying. You are helping the environment by working the soil, reducing your carbon footprint, and getting to know new like-minded people.
Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Share your kindness stories in the comments. I’ve got my tissues ready!