How great is it that our small acts of kindness can make someone else’s entire day?
Here are 80 good deeds and random acts of kindness that can help you feel amazing.
Some of these are new ideas that I haven’t seen online before. Others aren’t as original, but a reminder certainly never hurts.
The first suggestion below inspired this post. I know Amy, and after liking her Facebook page, I felt so happy that I wanted to find more easy ways to help others and to feel great. Here’s what I came up with . . .
Random Acts of Kindness
- Take 5 seconds to support a young person’s dream. Amy is an awesome 11-year-old who has a great attitude and is battling cancer. She’s hoping to meet Taylor Swift by getting Facebook likes. What better way to spend 10 seconds than to click to her Facebook page and like it!
- Create a holiday to celebrate someone you love. I have “Mia Appreciation Day” for my wife. Your appreciation day can be as simple as declaring the date of the holiday and writing a note of thanks each year to read out loud on that day.You can also invent your own fun or crazy family holiday.
- Put 50–100 paper hearts or smiley faces in a box. On each cutout write something that is special about your lover or a good friend. Give her the box and tell her to pull out a heart or smiley face anytime she gets lonely or wants a pick me up.
- Find opportunities to give compliments. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could make someone’s entire day. Don’t just think it. Say it.
- Your compliment could be something silly, yet endearing. Here’s a post from Pinterest.
- Take five minutes to send “happy mail” (postal or email) to sick children who are fighting serious illnesses and want to receive mail. When you get to the home page, click “enter” and then click to the “getting started” page.
- You can also send cards to the siblings of children with cancer. Smiles for Siblings was started by Chris West, a 14 year-old with cancer, who saw that his siblings sometimes felt left out, because of all the attention and get well cards he received. The Smiles for Siblings Facebook page lists kids who could benefit from the two minutes it takes to mail them a card.
- On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, remember any friends who have lost a parent the previous year, and check in with them. Those will be tough days.
- Make little gift baskets for the kids in your neighborhood. One of our neighbors made our son an Easter basket (also a Halloween and Christmas basket). It made our son, my wife and me feel great. The cost of each basket was probably $5.
- Want me to pick something up for you? If you know someone is overwhelmed – perhaps by a new baby, family health issues, or something else – give them a call when you’re going out to the store. Ask if they’d like you to pick something up. We’ve been the beneficiaries of this, and it’s great.
- When a friend’s family member dies, an incredible gift is to gather stories about the deceased. Get friends and family members to provide stories, anecdotes and photos. Your friend will forever cherish the book you’ll put together.
- If you’re an Amazon.com customer you can donate Amazon.com’s money to your favorite U.S. nonprofit through Amazon Smile. It takes a total of 20 seconds to read how to do this and set it up. Then Amazon will donate to your favorite nonprofit each time you make a purchase.
- Collect soda can tabs to donate to Ronald McDonald House for sick children and their families. The charity gets paid for these.
- My mom called me after a winter storm that resulted in a few days of icy roads. Mom suggested I call some of the seniors in my neighborhood to make sure they were ok and didn’t need anything. What a great idea.
The thoughtful owner of Fox’s Pizza Den in Ligonier PA went even further. When freezing temperatures made it dangerous for elderly people to go outside, Tom Wynkoop offered that his delivery people would bring medicine, food or other necessities to those who couldn’t get out due to health reasons – no food ordering required.
- If you’re a musician living in NYC, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Nashville or Miami, you can volunteer through the nonprofit Musicians on Call to deliver a live, in-room performances to patients undergoing treatment or unable to leave their beds. Add a dose of joy to life in a healthcare facility by bringing the healing power of music to people who need it.
- Put a surprise note or sketch in with your spouse’s or kid’s lunch.
- When it’s summer and hot, give out cold Gatorades to your mail carrier and garbage men. When it’s freezing outside offer hot chocolate to crossing guards, police officers and others.
- Cook an extra portion of dinner (or dessert) for someone who needs it. Aid for Friends is a Philadelphia area nonprofit that delivers about 500,000 meals yearly to people in need. It started with one woman’s small acts of kindness. She made an extra meal each night to give to someone who needed it. Read her amazing story.
- After a wedding or party donate all of the flowers to a nursing home. If you want to see the impact of these acts of kindness, personally deliver a flower to each resident. You could also bring the flowers to a hospital and ask the receptionist to distribute them to patients who could use them.
- Speaking of flowers — Why not take flowers to the nursing station at a hospital — for the nurses.
- Tell someone the truth. Sometimes it’s really hard, but it’s what friends do.
- Say “thank you” to someone who made a difference. . . .Send a card to people who dedicate their lives to helping us – soldiers, police officers, fire fighters and teachers to name a few.
Write a letter to a deployed or wounded member of the military through Operation Gratitude. Soldiers say that’s the most meaningful part of care packages they receive.
Send thanks to military members through military Facebook pages.
It’s never too late to say “thanks.” I sent a note 7 years after someone had helped me, and she told me it made her feel terrific. I’m glad I got over my embarrassment at how much time had passed and finally sent it.
On the topic of “thank you”, TD Bank’s Thank you video shows them turning ATMs into Automatic Thanking Machines for some personal and special moments for customers. Have your tissues ready…
- Write letters to strangers who need them. More Love Letters has a list of people who could benefit from letters of encouragement. Each person has been added to the web site by a friend or family member. Read the stories and take five minutes to make someone’s day.
- Send cards to lonely seniors. 13-year-old Jacob Cramer started Love for the Elderly, which distributes letters to American seniors via senior centers and nonprofit organizations. This page explains how you can send a postal letter or simply write something using their online form. Letters have come in from all over including Cleveland, Asia and Scotland.
- There are so many ways to make people feel great by sending letters:
Send a crazy letter or postcard to make someone laugh.My nieces love mail so much, that my wife and I try to regularly send them postcards, stickers and anything we find for that matter, and it makes their day.
Send a letter just to “let you know how much I care about you.” How wonderful would it be to get that?
Cut out an article and send it to someone. “I thought about you when I saw this…” or “this reminds me of…” My grandmother always did this, and it made me feel great. For other ideas from my grandma see: Grandma’s Great Advice on Sex, How to Be a Better Person, The Perils of Tight Underwear and more.
Take a cute photo of someone you love and mail or email it to them.
- Even easier and quicker than sending letters is texting. You could text someone just to tell them something you appreciate about him. I received a random text like this from a relative. It made me feel awesome.
- Do you know someone who could use a lift? Add them to the More Love Letters list, so they can get letters of encouragement.
- Join the bone marrow registry. Certain types of patients with blood cancers can survive only if doctors find a bone marrow match for a transplant. A friend of ours survived, because he found a match – his kids have their dad because of a bone marrow match. There are moms, dads and kids who can live if they find a match. How it works — you send in a swab from your mouth. Then you’re added to the bone marrow registry. If you’re lucky enough to be a match, you have the option to save a life by donating bone marrow from your blood. You’re usually sore for a day or two afterwards. Get info here.
- Keep an extra umbrella at work, so you can lend it out when it rains.
- If you’re a business, leverage what you do every day to do good and perform acts of kindness.
Rotation Records in Norristown, PA heard about an 11-year old battling Cancer whose dream is to be a singer. They offered her an opportunity to have a recording session and red carpet party at their studios, which was a huge hit.
- There isn’t enough work for the military personnel who have returned home, so many of them survive on odd jobs. What do you need done around your house? Post your odd jobs on Hire Patriots and give back to those who have given so much. Plus, you’ll get someone who knows how to get a job done. You might also want to check out Support our Troops – Over a Dozen Ways to Thank Our Troops and 10 Incredible Entrepreneurs Serving Veterans, How they Got Started, and How You can Help.
- Sometimes we shy away from people when we know they’re having a rough time. We assume we should wait for them to approach us, so we’re not intruding. Instead, ask them how they’re doing. If they don’t want to talk, they’ll say they’re “fine.” Many people will be relieved to have someone to talk to. If you don’t ask, they might never mention anything to you. They might not want to burden you with their problems.
- Listen. Don’t interrupt. Something I learned from my wife is that people don’t always want us to suggest a solution. They just want us to listen. We underestimate how important and comforting it is to be listened to.
- Do something special that you know your significant other will appreciate – like when my wife surprised me with chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. These small acts of kindness matter. For more related to the little things, see How a Frosty Strengthened My Marriage.
- When you see something good, share it. Tim, a friend who teaches, said that when his students are doing really well he calls their parents. Tim teaches at an alternative school where parents usually receive calls from the school when their children are in trouble. Tim said he likes to make sure he also calls with good news. How great for the kids and their parents. Keep an eye out for the positive and share it with parents, spouses, friends and so on. These are simple and great acts of kindness.
- Be sure to also share in a work setting. When you get great service tell the person who helped you. Then, tell a manager. Go to the corporate web site and submit an email.
Write a positive online review of a business you like. It makes a difference. Our mason and electrician said that over 50% of their business comes from online reviews.
And, don’t forget to point out those people at your work who do a great job.
- Encourage someone to pursue her dreams. And, help her achieve her goals.
- Say, “Yes” to someone. 15-year-old Jack Thomas Andraka received 199 rejections before a lab finally agreed to allow him to do research there. Jack Andraka wound up developing a cancer test 100 times more sensitive and 26,000 times less expensive than existing tests.
- Donate your stuff. Instead of saving things in case you need them in 10 years, consider giving stuff to someone who needs it now. Here is a list of where to donate clothes, furniture, old phones, inkjet cartridges, children’s clothes and books, appliances, electronics, cars, eyeglasses and more.
- When you’re volunteering keep the little things in mind. Some students from Spark the Wave were volunteering at a coat drive. In addition to giving out the coats, they added kind and encouraging notes inside the pockets. There were also kids who decorated the lids on cans of food they donated to a food pantry. The human touches make a difference.
- Our neighbors noticed that we had a lot going on and could use a distraction.
So our neighbors put this bag in our mailbox.
A small act of kindness (like a little gift) at the time you need it can make a huge difference. And, our neighbor’s gesture did make a huge difference.
Simple and appreciated!
- Give someone the benefit of the doubt.
- Everyone is important. Learn the names of your office security guard, the person at the front desk and other people you see every day. Greet them by name. Also say “hello” to strangers and smile. These acts of kindness are so easy, and they almost always make people smile.
- In the middle of December, contribute to Operation Santa Claus. Go to the Post Office, snag one of the letters to Santa, and fulfill a wish for someone who needs help buying gifts.
- Contribute a small sum of money to grant a wish of a foster youth. One Simple Wish has an online directory of requests that case workers submit for their foster youth. The wishes are often the simple things – money to go to prom, dance lessons, money to pay for being on the school cheerleading squad, to name a few.
- Follow up.
My friend Mary received tremendous support when diagnosed with cancer. She said the support tapered down while she went through her lengthy treatment. Mary’s experience changed her perspective. Now, when someone she knows has Cancer, Mary finds reasons to send a note or reach out every few weeks.
I recently heard the same thing from a friend who is going through a divorce. He said it felt like everyone forgot about him a few months later, even though it was still tough.
I felt bad hearing these statements, because I haven’t been thoughtful enough about long-term follow-up. But now I’ll do better. Let’s remember to reach out months after a trauma (disease, divorce, death, etc.). My friends said that even an occasional friendly note makes a big difference, and even if the person sending it wasn’t a close friend.
- Get an email address for your kids and send them memories, achievements, awards, etc. Give them the address at 18.
- Check in with someone. Recently an acquaintance emailed to see how I was doing. She said she hadn’t seen a blog post in a while and wanted to say “hi.” Although it was simply business that kept me from posting, her outreach was touching.
- Pay for someone’s dinner…
I read about a family out to dinner with a special needs child. The kid was acting up and the waitress brought over a note that said “God only gives special children to special people” from a mystery guest who paid for the family’s meal.
The child is non-verbal and has had 3 major brain surgeries for epilepsy.
The boy’s mom, Ashley England, told WBTV, “To have someone do that small act towards us shows that some people absolutely understand what we are going through and how hard it is to face the public sometimes,” she said. “They made me cry, blessed me more than they know – I felt like out of all the rude negative comments that we are faced with – this outweighs them. The people who care!”
- Loan money to a third world entrepreneur through Kiva. These tiny investments change the lives of the families who receive them, and 99% of the loans are paid back.
- On Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day, go to your local memorial or event and pass out mini flags or flowers to Veterans.
- When a friend makes a meal that you love, ask for the recipe.
- Teach someone. We can all teach something, and sometimes the small things make the biggest difference. Olympic gold medalist, professional baseball player and bestselling author Jim Abbott recalls his third grade teacher showing him how to tie his shoes as one of the biggest inspirations of Jim’s life.
- Post positive notes.
At the center where I teach, someone posted positive notes in unexpected places – like the one above, which was at the water cooler. Everyone loved the signs and it led to a barrage of thank you emails to the entire school, just so people could thank the anonymous sign hanger.
- Invite someone to dinner – especially at the holidays, when it is difficult for some people to be alone.
- Make a helpful introduction.
- Call your parents. Hi Mom and Dad!
- Wendy McDonald paints small rocks and puts an inspirational word on them. If someone needs a boost she hands the rock to them. As Wendy says, “fun for me and rewarding!” A personal touch to cheer someone up and let them know your’e thinking of them. (Wendy, thanks for sharing.)
- Buy a small gift for someone. Just because.
- Share a great book you’ve read.(I recently finished and loved, Conor Grennan’s book,Little Princes, One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal.)
- Don’t ignore the next homeless person you see. Buy him food. Enjoy his smile when you give it to him.
Carry around a care package of food or toiletries that you can give to a homeless person.
- Let another car merge in front of you, or stop to let a pedestrian cross the street.
- Hold the elevator. Sometimes, when I hope the elevator will shut before someone else comes and slows me down, I think, “Am I really in that much of a rush that an extra minute will hurt me?”
- If you print an Internet coupon before going to a store, print a few extras to give to other customers.
- In five minutes you can sign up to become an organ donor. Then, when you die (we all do eventually), your organs can be used to save lives. One person’s organs can save up to 8 lives. If you want to know more, the Mayo Clinic wrote an excellent article answering frequently asked questions about organ donation.
- If you see someone who looks lost and might need help with directions, don’t wait for him to ask you for help.
- Photograph tourists. See a person or a couple trying to take a photo of themselves? Offer to take it for them.
- Stop at a kid’s lemonade stand and buy a drink.
- Leave a big tip.
- Call someone you love. Tell him you love him.
- Allow someone to help you. Let her enjoy performing an act of kindness.
- Donate some extra money to charity; you never know the impact you might have. Hilde Back donated $15 per month to a charity that supports Kenyan school children. I don’t think anyone would have predicted that her small donations would wind up dramatically changing over 350 lives.
- Spend a few minutes on Free Rice, a United Nations Food Program that will donate rice to hungry people when you interact with the web site. By the way, this is made possible through corporate sponsors.
- Write a love note and hide it in a magazine your partner is reading or somewhere else he/she will find it.
- Use the idle time on your computer to cure diseases, study global warming and many other research projects. Your computing power will be donated through BOINC, a project of the University of California supported by the National Science Foundation.
- When you want to help someone, ask: “How can I help?” and also suggest specific ways you can help. People are less likely to come up with a way for you to help if you’re too general. For example, if someone just had a baby, you could say, “I’d really like to do something for you. Can I drop off groceries, babysit your older child or cook dinner this week?” If they say “no thanks,” you can ask if there’s something else they’d appreciate.
- Use Goodsearch, to search the internet, play games or answer survey questions. The for profit company donates a portion of all advertising revenue to charity (50% of revenue or 1 cent for each search).
- Carry around a $5 gift card so you can give it to someone who does something awesome. Or, create and carry “thanks for making my day” cards that you can give to people.
- Involve your kids in community service. Donna mentioned in the comments below that she takes her son to pass out food to people who need it.
- I read about a teacher who got her first graders involved in random acts of kindness by having her class collectively perform 100 acts of kindness over a 2-week period. The class recorded each act on a small heart and organized the hearts into a collage. Perhaps this is a way to get your kids excited about acts of kindness as well and introduce your kids to the great feeling from doing good.
- During the holidays my cousin takes her children to a store to pick out and buy a gift for a child who might not get many gifts. This year, instead of getting 8 gifts for Hanukkah, her kids got 7 and the 8th gift was one they picked out for someone else. Toys for Tots is a great recipient of these acts of kindness.
- You could also participate together in many of the other ideas listed earlier in this post. If you’re interested, here’s a link to Random Acts of Kindness for Kids–17 ideas for raising grateful and kind kids.
- If you’re upset, take a deep breath and count to 10 (or perhaps 15) before you say anything. Ask yourself if what you’re going to say will be helpful. Pausing will reduce the likelihood you’ll say something you’d regret. Remind yourself that a positive mindset is a choice you can make. This idea came from Dani DiPirro’s book The Positively Present Guide to Life.
Random acts of kindness for kids:
Seek out an opportunity to help every day. Hold open a door, offer assistance, help someone trying to get a stroller down the steps or take any small acts of kindness. Every small interaction with someone is an opportunity to have a positive impact on both of your lives.
When you look, you’ll find opportunities to perform acts of kindness. When you take those opportunities to perform random acts of kindness, you’ll feel great.
Please add your thoughts or additional random acts of kindness below.
Also, if you enjoyed this post, you’ll enjoy one of the most popular articles on my blog, which is about increasing your happiness — 46 Proven Techniques to Increase Your Happiness And one Way to Get More Sex.