Ellen Degeneres is definitely onto something with her message to be kind and compassionate. Not only does it feel good, but there’s countless scientific evidence that proves it’s a health booster as well. According to research featured from the Random Acts of Kindness, kindness increases energy, happiness, and even lifespan. It also decreases pain, depression, anxiety, and blood pressure.
With results like these, it’s always a good time to practice being kind and going out of your way for others. While those acts can be as simple as kind words or a smile, they can also be more involved and thought out.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
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Mail someone a card.
The next time you’re picking up a prescription or strolling through the dollar store, take a detour down the greeting card aisle. It’s not just for birthday cards — there are also “thinking of you” and “thank you” cards that would be perfect to jot a sweet note in and pop into the mail. Really take the time to think about the recipient on the other end. They’ll definitely appreciate your time and sincerity.
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Watch a friend’s child for a couple of hours.
Maybe it’s a friend you know well, perhaps it’s a neighbor down the street. Either way, this is such a powerful thing you can do for someone because it’s the simple gift of time. Give someone a little bit of “me” time to run errands or make a run to the bookstore, and they will be oh-so grateful.
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Drop off flowers at someone’s front door.
We can all identify with the joy of receiving flowers, and professors at Rutgers University have the research to back it up. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a fancy bouquet for this random act of kindness. Pick up some flowers at a farmers’ market, stop by the grocery store, or even pick your own, then leave them at someone’s front door to truly make their day.
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Make a big batch of soup to share.
There’s something warm and cozy about soup. It really is a comfort food, and it’s not just for when you’re sick, either. It’s easy to make a big batch of soup, and then you can scoop out a few additional servings in portable containers to share with neighbors and friends. Here are a few slow cooker soup recipes to inspire you.
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Thank a teacher.
Most people have had an influential teacher in their lives. You’ve probably had many! For this one, take a moment to thank that teacher. They can be a teacher from your past, your child's teacher, or just an educator you know. A simple note will do just fine. Tell them how they’ve impacted you so they can see that their actions really do matter.
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Drop off books at a little free library.
Have you seen these around your neighborhood? Little free libraries often depend on donations of gently used books to keep up and running. You can gather up some recent books in good conditions and just stop by a little free library and put them inside. You can feel good knowing your love of books is being passed onto others.
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Do something you don’t love for someone you love.
This is truly a selfless act. Sometimes the people we love like certain things that we’re not into at all, whether it be sports or foreign films or anything out of your wheelhouse. So take a moment to give a random act of kindness to someone important to you. Agree to something they love, no matter what it is. This is such a lovely way to show them you care.
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Share baked goods with your mail carrier.
They deliver the mail rain or shine, and any little act of kindness will be a meaningful way to show you appreciate it. A simple thank you note is perfect, and then if you really want to be extra, slip in a couple of homemade cookies or some banana bread. You might not have a lot of regular contact with your mail carrier, but this is such a simple way to let them know you see their hard work.
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Buy someone a cup of coffee.
Have you ever had someone pay for your coffee in line or while in the drive-thru? It’s truly one of those great moments, and it almost feels like you won the lottery. So go ahead and be this person to someone else. The $3-$5 you spend just might make someone’s entire day or week.
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Leave a kind note for your waitstaff.
If you have a wonderful server or bartender, then let them know! Leave them a note to say you appreciate their friendliness, attention to detail, or whatever the case may be. They have a stressful job and are on their feet all day, so a little positivity from someone could really brighten their mood.
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Do a chore for someone else.
They’re called chores for a reason. These are usually unfun tasks that no one likes to do. So for this random act of kindness, take on the chore for someone. It’s even better if you can surprise them. This will mean the world to someone you know, and it’ll likely give them a much-deserved break.
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Send something in the mail to a child.
Do you remember the happiness of getting mail as a child? It really doesn’t matter what it is because you’re just happy to get mail. You can bring this joy to a little one, too. It doesn’t have to be anything big, a card with a few stickers is perfect.
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Open the door for someone.
This should be regular activity, but for some, it’s not. We are sometimes in such a rush that we forget to do the little things. So pick a day and try to remember to hold the door open for as many people as you can.
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Give someone a heartfelt apology.
No, this isn’t about digging up your past. It’s more about remembering to say you’re sorry when you did something wrong. This can be extremely difficult and humbling, but it’s also really meaningful. It’s a different type of kindness act, and it definitely counts.
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Help someone else get outside.
There’s no doubt that going outside is good for you, as the Harvard Medical School explains. Getting outside in the sunshine is always a good idea, and so this random act is to take someone along with you. Perhaps it’s a child that wants to go to the playground or maybe it’s an elderly person that doesn’t get out much. No matter what the case may be, you can be sure it’s good for their physical and mental health.
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Share something kind about someone else.
Do you have a co-worker that always goes the extra mile? Write a LinkedIn recommendation or send a nice note to their supervisor. Or do you know a child that is just a good, all-around kid? Tell their parents! We often think positive, happy thoughts about people that we come into contact with every single day. So now it’s time to help recognize them!
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Be there for someone who needs you to listen.
Yes, just being a good listener really is a random act of kindness. We all need to vent sometimes and having a person to listen can mean the world. The next time someone in your life needs to talk, do them a favor and sit down to listen. Here are some tips for becoming a good listener.
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When you think of something positive or kind, say it.
Did you notice the barista at your local coffee shop has great eyelashes? Did you appreciate the patience and friendliness of a store cashier? So many people hear complaints and negative feedback on a positive basis, so let’s all vow to take time to give positive feedback as well. It’s such a small gesture, but it can really make a meaningful impact.
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Leave a kindness rock in a park.
Have you seen kindness rocks? The idea is that you write a positive, encouraging message on a rock, usually with paint pens or markers, and then you leave it in a public spot for someone to find it. Great places to leave a kindness rock would be a public park or a library.
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Buy some extra groceries.
Nearly all grocery stores have a collection spot to donate to a local shelter or food pantry. Even if they don’t have bins out, they likely have a designated area in the back. So the next time you go to the grocery store, throw a few extra items in your cart and then ask the cashier to donate them. It’s a simple act that can really add up.
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Donate something that you know you could sell.
You might be able to get $20 for that piece of baby equipment or set of nightstands, but there’s probably a worthy organization you can donate them to instead. Look at women’s shelters and veteran’s organizations for things like this. They are such worthy causes and really appreciate the donations.