Random acts of Kindness Day is on the 17th February and Positive Psychologist Andy Cope has put together a list of more than twenty ways you can show kindness to others.
The quickest way for you to feel great is to do a good deed for someone else – hence you make their day and yours. Don’t worry, you don’t have to donate a kidney (that option sits at the extreme end of the kindness spectrum) and in most cases kindness is free, fun and infectious.
So here are 20+ simple kindness ideas. Yes, some are easier than others, but all are do-able so why not use Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Day to experiment with what works for you? Get your 5 a day. Come alive. Become a RAKtivist.
- Compliments. Go ahead and make someone’s day with your words. Comment on nice hair, clothes, shoes, manners, attitude… it’s the most basic level kindness and it happens to be simple and free
- Say nice things about people behind their back. This ratchets your kindness to another level. Paying someone a compliment when they’re not in the room is sure to get back to them, creating a very warm glow
- Give hugs. The average hug last 2.1 seconds but for the love to transfer a hug needs to last 7 seconds or longer. So, use National Kindness Day as an excuse to envelop those you love for the full 7 seconds (not for strangers in the park)
- Be a lover, not a hater. It’s so easy to be negative, and join in the barrage of hate on social media. 100% positive postings today please
- Positive reviews. Amazon/Trip Advisor/etc: trawl back through your recent memory and leave positive comments on any books, hotels, purchases that have pleased you
- Travel in style. Whatever your means of transport today, travel with a smile and a great attitude. Instead of road rage, give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. Let cars into the queue, willingly and wholeheartedly
- Heartfelt thanks. Think of someone who has really helped you (eg, given you time or supported you). Write them a letter, from the heart, that says how wonderful they are and what they mean to you. Read it to them (I dare you!)
- Share. Cook an extra meal and deliver it to an elderly neighbour
- Pay twice. Pay for the drinks for the people behind you in the coffee shop queue. Ditto for the fast food meal. At an advanced level, while you’re paying for your petrol, see if you can pay for someone who’s just filled up but not made it into the kiosk yet. Pay and dash. Totally anonymous. Yes, it’s an expensive one but I guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth in warm feelings
- The gift of life. If a kidney’s too far why not give blood and/or join the organ donor registry
- Listen. And I mean really listen. Be genuinely interested in other people, all day. They’ll feel wonderful and in a bizarre twist of quantum physics, they will think you are a wonderful person
- Start a piggy bank for a cause. Put your shrapnel in a jar and when the jar is bursting, hand it to your chosen charity
- Praise be. In your next work meeting go out of your way to praise someone for a great attitude or job well done
- Be snap happy. See a person or a couple trying to take a photo of themselves? Offer to take it for them.
- Top tips. Be generous with your tipping. The ‘Waiter Rule’ suggests that the way you treat waiters and waitresses says an awful lot about you. Those who are kind, considerate and appreciative of the lower paid staff are often happier and more successful in their lives
- Bake a cake. And take it to work. Please bake it rather than just buying it. It’s 100% more meaningful
- Send a pud. Dining out? Scan the joint for people who look nice and have a quiet word with the waiter. After they’ve finished their main, get 2 puddings delivered to them, paid for by you. The waiter has to be sworn to secrecy. A bit of a nerve jangler but it makes everyone’s day
- Service with a smile? When you receive excellent service, thank the person who gave it and ask to see their manager to escalate the praise
- 10/5 Principle. Smile at everyone who comes within 10 feet of you and make eye contact/say ‘Hi’ to everyone who comes within 5 feet (works everywhere with the exception of the London Underground)
- Brilliant parenting. Read the bedtime story like it is the most exciting book in the world. Yes, even if they’re 24 and 19
- Brilliant ‘childrenning’. If mum and dad are being extra awesome, then the kids need to return the compliment. Kids – tidy your room, set the table, wash the dishes, make your dad a cuppa. And no whining about it!
- Bin it. Bin day? Return your bins to their rightful place and do the same for your neighbours
- Heavy Petting. Elderly neighbours? Offer to take their pooch for an extra walkies. The fresh air’s good for you, the dog’s happy and your neighbours think you’re fabulous (which of course, you are)
The challenge is to experiment. The science says you’ll feel great and, if you do, why not do 5 a day every day?
Dr Andy Cope is a positive psychologist and author. His latest books Diary of a Brilliant Kid and SHINE are available now on Amazon. Find out more about Andy at www.artofbrilliance.co.uk