Isn’t it funny that giving makes you feel good? I mean this goes against survival instincts to look after ourselves with no regard to the goodness of others. On the contrary it’s when we give that we feel good; in the words of Amelia Earhart… ‘Kindness begets kindness’.
In a book titled Why Kindness Is Good For You, written by bestselling author David R. Hamilton PhD, it’s stated that kindness goes as far as producing happiness. ‘ A 2004 study conducted by Professor Sonja Lyumbomirsky from the University of California had participants perform random acts of kindness on a specific day once a week over a ten-week-period. The results were clear: the acts kindness made the participants happier.’
‘Another thing the study found was that it was important to vary the kind acts. Doing the same act several times didn’t generate as many good feelings as doing a wide range of different acts. In fact, those who did the same acts every day actually became less happy. The study also found that making an effort was important. For instance, compare writing regular thank-you letters to writing one and sitting down with the person and reading it out to them. Which do you think would be more powerful?’
Think of it this way, each one of us is on a journey which tends to be difficult at times – a little kindness can go a long way. As Hamilton continues in his book…’ We can never know how far an act of kindness can travel. It might alter someone’s behaviour, causing them to be softer or gentler throughout the rest of the day. Without it, who knows? Maybe they might have caused someone pain.’
The other exciting thing about being kind or giving is that the smallest act of kindness can bring someone else so much happiness.
Here are a few ways to spread kindness and make the world a better place, one kind act at a time:
- Write a thank-you card to someone.
- Offer to carry an elderly person’s shopping.
- Allow someone in front of you in the supermarket queue.
- Give someone a compliment.
- Buy an extra parking ticket and leave it on the parking meter for the next person to find.
- Pay for an extra pair of cinema tickets and ask the server to give them to someone they feel would appreciate them.
- Leave R20.00 at the till of a coffee shop and ask the manager to use it to pay for everyone’s coffees until it is used up.
- Tell someone in a shop or restaurant that they’re doing a great job.
- When someone cuts you up on the road, smile and wave them on.
- Send a card to a schoolteacher or university professor you once had and tell them how much they influenced your life.
- Buy some food for a homeless person.
- Collect a box of food and send to a family you know could use it.
- Join a charity as a regular volunteer.
- Offer to look after a friend or family member’s children for a few hours.
- Phone someone up on their birthday and sing, Happy Birthday down the phone line to them.
- Offer your seat on the bus or train to an elderly person.
- Be a friend to someone in need.
- Make a donation to a charity.
- Sponsor a child.
- Foster or adopt a child from an orphanage.
- Buy a large box of cakes and pastries and give them out on the street.
- Take out an advert in a newspaper wishing everyone a nice day.
- Give your loved one breakfast in bed.
- Buy a gift for someone.
- Buy lunch or dinner for someone who is short of money.
- If someone is giving out leaflets on the street, take one, smile and thank them for offering it to you. Make a point of reading it.
- If you are ever given too much change, take it back to the shop.
- Give blood.
- Write a letter of gratitude to someone who has influenced your life, hand-deliver it and read it out to them.
- If you’re getting a coffee for yourself in the office, offer to get one for your colleagues, or just surprise someone with a coffee on your return.
- Send chocolates at Christmas to a company that has provided you with good service.
- Send flowers to an elderly person.
- Visit an elderly person and listen to their stories.
- Find out what a loved one or friend really wants and provide it for them.
- Buy a book for someone.
- Tell someone they look great.
- Throw a party for someone who deserves some appreciation.
- Offer to tidy an elderly neighbour’s garden.
- Offer to do some shopping for someone who’s not able to do it for themselves.
- Take someone on a night out.
- When a new person joins the company you work for or moves into your street, make them feel welcome by taking them for lunch.
- Hold a door open for someone.
- Slip some money into the purse or pocket of someone who needs it so that when they find it they think they must have misplaced it.
- Write a poem or song for someone.
- Search out inspirational or funny videos on YouTube, or other inspirational or funny material, and send it to someone who needs it.
- Pay a kindness forward. If someone does something kind for you, do something kind for someone else, to carry the kindness forward.
- Do a chore for someone that you know they hate doing.
- Give someone a hug for no reason.
- Write a thank-you card to a teacher or university professor and thank them for an inspiring or informative lesson.
- Take a loaf of bread to a pond and feed the ducks.