We live in a world that celebrates lots of special awareness ‘days’ or ‘week’s, whether they be for cancer, stopping smoking, or more light hearted issues such as Nutella!
14 – 20 February has been designated as ‘Random Act of Kindness Week. Whilst this might seem a strange thing to celebrate, its one that has really struck a chord with me.
We all seem to spend our time rushing from one thing to the next, stressed about work, our home lives, our loved ones. Sometimes, because of this, we start to feel that we don’t value ourselves or have low self esteem. We don’t take enough time to look at the bigger picture. Or this is how I find my life seems to go!
Every time I switch on the news, its full of death, destruction, crises… the world can appear a negative place.
But – there is still an awful lot of good in the world, if we take the time to notice it. Random Acts of Kindness exist to remind people about the good things, the little things that can make a big difference.
It can be giving someone who is lost direction, giving up your seat on the bus to someone, giving a compliment to someone. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, but I can guarantee it will make both you and the receiver smile. And smiling is excellent therapy for the soul!
Have a look at the Random Acts of Kindness website. I particularly liked the ‘suggestions’ list, which I have copied below:
50 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas:
1. Pay it Backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
2. Compliment the first three people you talk to today.
3. Send a positive text message to five different people right now.
4. Post inspirational sticky notes around your neighbourhood, office, school, etc.
5. Tell someone they dropped a dollar (even though they didn’t). Then give them a dollar.
6. Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter.
7. Say hi to the person next to you on the elevator.
8. Surprise a neighbour with freshly baked cookies or treats!
9. Let someone go in front of you in line who only has a few items.
10. Leave a gas gift card at a gas pump.
11. Throw a party to celebrate someone just for being who they are, which is awesome.
12. Have a LinkedIn account? Write a recommendation for co-worker or connection.
13. Leave quarters at the laundry.
14. Encounter someone in customer service who is especially kind? Take an extra five minutes to tell their manager.
15. Leave unused coupons next to corresponding products in the grocery store.
16. Leave a note on someone’s car telling them how awesome they parked.
17. Try to make sure every person in a group conversation feels included.
18. Write a kind message on your mirror with a dry erase marker for yourself, your significant other or a family member.
19. Place a positive body image notes in jean pockets at a department store.
20. Smile at five strangers.
21. Set an alarm on your phone to go off at three different times during the day. In those moments, do something kind for someone else.
22. Send a gratitude email to a co-worker who deserves more recognition.
23. Practice self-kindness and spend 30 minutes doing something you love today.
24. Give away stuff for free on Craig’s List.
25. Write a gratitude list in the morning and again in the evening.
26. Know parents who could use a night out? Offer to babysit for free.
27. Hold up positive signs for traffic or in a park for people exercising outside!
28. Return shopping carts for people at the grocery store.
29. Buy a plant. Put it in a terracotta pot. Write positive words that describe a friend on the pot. Give it to that friend!
30. Write a positive comment on your favourite blog, website, or a friend’s social media account.
31. Have a clean up party at a beach or park.
32. While you’re out, compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.
33. Leave a kind server the biggest tip you can afford.
34. When you’re throwing something away on the street, pick up any litter around you and put that in the trash too.
35. Pay the toll for the person behind you.
36. Put 50 paper hearts in a box. On each cutout write something that is special about your partner or a friend. Give them the box and tell them to pull out a heart anytime they need a pick-me-up.
37. Everyone is important. Learn the names of your office security guard, the person at the front desk and other people you see every day. Greet them by name. Also say “hello” to strangers and smile. These acts of kindness are so easy, and they almost always make people smile.
38. Write your partner a list of things you love about them.
39. Purchase extra dog or cat food and bring it to an animal shelter.
40. Find opportunities to give compliments. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could make someone’s entire day. Don’t just think it. Say it.
41. Take flowers or treats to the nurses’ station at your nearest hospital.
42. Keep an extra umbrella at work, so you can lend it out when it rains.
43. Send a ‘Thank you’ card or note to the officers at your local police or fire station.
44. Take muffins or cookies to your local librarians.
45. Run an errand for a family member who is busy.
46. Leave a box of goodies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
47. Tape coins around a playground for kids to find.
48. Put your phone away while in the company of others.
49. Email or write to a former teacher who made a difference in your life.
50. When you hear that discouraging voice in your head, tell yourself something positive — you deserve kindness too!
Aren’t they fantastic?! And generally, don’t cost you a penny.
Do let us know if you participate – we’d love to hear what you did and how it made you feel. I will certainly be handing out these little gems, not just next week but going forwards.