It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of our everyday lives, forgetting that a simple act of kindness can have a major impact on someone’s day.
We never know the battles someone else is facing. That’s why even the smallest actions—like holding the door or simply saying “thank you”—can help make the world a better place for all of us.
By practicing kindness, we can improve the lives of others, as well as our own mental health. In fact, research shows that helping others increases our energy, happiness and lifespan, while decreasing pain, stress and anxiety.
You don’t have to look far, spend money, or go out of your way to spread positivity and compassion. Check out this list of 50 random acts of kindness that will make the day of a loved one or a complete stranger.
50 Random Acts of Kindness
- Donate old clothes or household items to a secondhand store like Goodwill or Salvation Army.
- Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
- Donate to your favorite charity.
- Offer to cook someone a meal, or send them a meal delivery kit (ex: HelloFresh, Blue Apron).
- Compliment a stranger you don’t know.
- Praise a coworker for his or her hard work.
- Help your neighbor with yard work (ex: raking leaves, mowing the lawn, shoveling the driveway).
- Help a busy family member do their laundry.
- Do the dishes—even when it’s not “your turn.”
- Send a "thinking of you" card for no specific reason.
- Leave a note or a baked good for your postal worker.
- Be present. This means putting your phone down, staying off social media and giving someone your undivided attention
- Hold the elevator.
- Thank a server at a restaurant.
- Leave spare change near a parking meter.
- Help someone load their groceries into their car on a cold or rainy day.
- Stop for kids selling lemonade, hot coco or cookies.
- Give someone your parking space.
- Let another driver into your lane.
- Give someone the benefit of the doubt—people make mistakes. Instead of getting upset with them, cut them some slack.
- Buy the next person in line coffee.
- Thank someone you see every day. This could be a parking attendant, your doorman or a security guard.
- Offer to take out the trash.
- Brush off someone's windshield when it snows.
- Offer to take a loved one’s dog for a walk while they’re at work.
- Let a stranger go in front of you in line at the store.
- Call a loved one simply to say “hi.”
- Send flowers to a loved one for no reason.
- Offer to babysit a family’s kids for free for a day, night or even a weekend to give them some quality time to themselves.
- Offer to go to the grocery store for a loved one.
- Make a music playlist specifically for a loved one.
- Share or offer up your umbrella on a rainy day.
- Bring someone a souvenir from vacation.
- Give somebody a hug. Sometimes, we all need one!
- Take a loved one somewhere they’ve always wanted to go. This could be a local spot around town or somewhere out of town.
- Offer to drive a loved one to an appointment.
- Invite a loved one or friend to dinner.
- Offer to take a loved one to the movies.
- Pack a lunch for a loved one to take to work, or bring one for a busy coworker.
- Pay for the person behind you in line at a drive-through.
- Buy someone a book or movie based on his or her interests.
- Remember meaningful dates like anniversaries or birthdays.
- Give up your seat to someone on the bus or the train.
- Clean a loved one’s car or house.
- Offer to fix broken items around a loved one’s home.
- Tell someone a joke that will make them laugh.
- Smile at a stranger.
- Just listen to a grieving loved one. Sometimes, it’s the best thing you can do.
- Offer to go to a support group with someone who is grieving.
- Buy someone a gift card to his or her favorite store or restaurant.
Practice Kindness in Your Life
A random act of kindness is an unexpected action that’s designed to make someone’s day a little brighter. Whether it’s big or small, every interaction with someone is an opportunity to have a positive impact on both of your lives.
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