Research has shown that acts of kindness can reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, all while increasing your self-esteem, energy, and optimism. And on top of feeling calmer and happier, it’s good for your physical health too!
“An honest concern for others is the key factor in improving our day to day lives. When you are warm-hearted, there is no room for anger, jealousy or insecurity. Healthy, happy families and a healthy peaceful nation are dependent on warm-heartedness.”Dalai Lama
According to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, you don’t even have to be the one doing or receiving an act of kindness to feel the positive effects. Simply by witnessing a kind act, you get all the proven health and feel-good benefits. Studies also show that kindness is contagious. Whether you see, do, or receive an act of kindness, you’re more likely to pay it forward.
When we practice random acts of kindness, it releases positivity. We feel better and the recipients of our acts feel better, which then makes them more likely to be kind to other people.
The best thing is that being kind doesn’t have to cost you any money. As a matter of fact, sometimes avoiding doing something can be the kindest thing you can do in some situations. The next time someone cuts you off in traffic or not let you in at a merge, ignore it and don’t get angry at the other person’s ignorance. Focus on sending out good energy into the world instead.
Here are some examples of acts of kindness that don’t cost anything:
- Say please and thank you (a lot!)
- Leave a nice note for someone (a friend, spouse, child, mail carrier, teacher, etc.)
- Smile at people when you pass them
- Hold the door or elevator
- Pick up litter you see when you’re walking outside
- Mow someone’s lawn or shovel their driveway
- Let someone in while you’re driving
- Write feedback about a helpful employee in a store
- Offer your seat on the train, bus or waiting room
- Give an honest compliment
- Thank someone who you appreciate
- Be a good listener
- Offer your help to someone
- Ask the person who’s serving you how their day is going
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”Albert Schweitzer
Here are some ideas that will cost some money
- Treat someone to a coffee or tea
- Pick up someone’s tab
- Pay for the order of the person behind you at a drive-thru
- Deliver food or a treat to a hospital, school, fire station, or police station
- Pay the toll for the person behind you
Volunteering your time in your community is another wonderful way to spread kindness. You will get a chance to meet your neighbors while dedicating your time and energy to a good cause. In the end, you’ll feel great knowing that you made a difference, and others may want to join you.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”Dr Seuss
Every act of kindness, no matter how small, is never wasted. When someone receives an act of kindness, chances are they will pay it forward so it’s worth your effort.