Estimated time to read: 3 minutes
Ever heard the saying ‘be the reason someone smiles today’? It’s a lovely sentiment that random acts of kindness that can make someone’s day, whether this is smiling at a stranger on the bus, helping someone carry their shopping to the car or paying for someone’s dinner. A random act of kindness can change someone’s day and maybe even their outlook on life if you catch them at the right time. Kindness is also supported by research proving that everyone can benefit, those giving and receiving the kindness and even those who observe it. Think back to when you saw someone being kind or saw a viral video of someone helping out a puppy or person in need, it made you feel good to see that there are good people in the world.
By nature depression, anxiety and stress involve a high degree of focusing on ourselves and our own problems. By doing a random act of kindness, it forces us to focus on the needs of others, literally shifting our way of thinking. Having a positive effect on someone else can increase our own self esteem, with an abundance of research showing that kindness enhances good feelings, including joyfulness, a sense of happiness, increased optimism and self worth. There is research showing a simple act of kindness directed toward another helps to improve our immune system and stimulates the production of serotonin in both parties. Meaning, kindness that is extended, received and even observed can positively impact the physical health and emotional wellbeing of all involved!
Have you ever seen the movie (with cute, little Haley Joel Osment) or read the book called Pay It Forward? If not, then find a copy and give it a watch or read to learn about a fantastic idea of kindness. The story involves a little boy who does 3 good deeds for others in need and all he wants in return is for them to do 3 good deeds for others and to keep the cycle going, or paying it forward. One good deed may not seem a lot, but if everyone does a good deed a day it help make us happier and healthier. A random act of kindness can change someone’s day, brighten a particularly tough week or even impact someone’s self esteem and worth. Just think about how the act would make you feel, if someone was kind to you without looking for anything in return. I bet you have a smile on your face, and it would make you want to pay it forward and help put a smile like that on someone else’s face.
Do you love the sound of making someone smile today? Here are a few ideas if you’re stuck:
• In a queue at the coffee shop? Pay for the next person’s drink
• Visit an elderly neighbour for a chat, or ask if they need help with anything
• Donate unwanted clothes/books to a charity shop
• Bake someone a cake
• Write positive post-it notes and stick them around the office, house or even in public areas (the bus, train, library etc.)
• Write someone a letter letting them know how wonderful they are, just for being them
• If you’re on holiday buy someone an unexpected souvenir
• Compliment a stranger (on their hair, top, choice of goodies in their basket)
• Compliment a work colleague on a good idea they had, or on dealing with a hard query
• Visit a local animal shelter to cuddle a fluff-ball, they need lots of affection, and enquire about volunteering while there
• Donate old toys, duvets, pillows and blankets to a local animal shelter
And sometimes just opening the door or sharing an umbrella on a rainy day makes all the difference!
So embrace Random Acts of Kindness Day this year and be the reason someone smiles today, and always pay it forward!
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