Random Act of Kindness Week. It’s here!

Think that committing  a random act of kindness is just fluff? Think again. There are quite a few studies that have determined there are health benefits for doing a random act of kindness.  Here are a few benefits you might have not realized:

  1. Almost 50% of participants in a Berkeley study reported having more energy after helping others, as well as feeling an enhanced self-esteem.
  2. According to author Christine Carter, being kind can help you live longer.  In her book Raising Happiness,  she sites that those who are 55 and older and who volunteer in two or more organizations, have a 44% lower likelihood of dying early – even after taking into consideration health profiles, exercise habits, gender and more.
  3. According to one Harvard study, people who give money away are the happiest – and the amount is not a factor.
  4. Kindness can reduce pain. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA reported that “acting altruistically relieved not only acutely induced physical pain among health adults, but also chronic pain among cancer patients”.
  5. Kindness stimulates serotonin. Serotonin is a feel-good chemical, which can help you relax. More importantly, serotonin can reduce mild depression.

There are all sorts of ways you can create a random act of kindness – none of which have to involve a lot of time or money.  Here are 20 small ways to make a big impact on someone’s day. Try a couple. You’ll be doing something nice for someone, and you’ll feel better too.

  1. Write a LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague.
  2. Bring in bagels or fresh fruit for your team.
  3. Reach out to a friend you’ve not connected with in a while – send a card, a text or give them  a call.
  4. Let someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store.
  5. Send a card or email to someone who has made a difference in your life and thank them.
  6. Donate time to a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
  7. Share or re-post about a local business. Good press is invaluable – especially to a small business!
  8. Bring a meal over to an elderly neighbor or family member.
  9. Out for a meal? Give your server an extra tip. Even if they’ve not been as good as your wanted. You’ll make them feel better about themselves and up their game.
  10. Have a colleague you’re less than crazy about? Compliment them on something you admire about them.
  11.  Open the door for someone – even if they’re as slow as molasses.
  12. Be kind to unkind people. It’s amazing how a smile or just being decent can impact someone who otherwise seems like they’re angry at the world.
  13. Shovel a neighbor’s walk way after fresh snow.
  14. Let someone in your lane – even if you’re in a hurry.
  15. Leave a magazine behind on the lunch table for the next person to read.
  16. Someone provide you great service? Let their manager know.
  17. Tell your family how much you appreciate them.
  18. Send a friend, colleague or relative flowers – just to brighten their day.
  19. Bring in your neighbor’s trash bin.
  20. And while we all know this one, it bears repeating. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you.