Who doesn’t want a little more acts of kindness in their life? Apparently a lot of us do; not only has engaged in random acts of kindness become increasingly popular, but there’s even a day dedicated to the warm and fuzzy feeling: November 13th is World Kindness Day. With this in mind, here are some unique ideas for you to help spread cheer to others—today and every day.
1. Send a handwritten note
In today’s age of sending a quick text or clicking “like” on Facebook, it’s easy to overlook the fact that some people deserve more attention. Actually sitting down and taking the time to write a note really sends a message that stands out from the social media pack and conveys that you truly care.
It’s a thoughtful gesture that brings about smiles and good feelings, so consider emailing a note to someone. It can be to extend an array of feelings, from gratitude you feel for the presence of a good friend to pride and congratulations you wish to express when someone is promoted. Using a handwritten note to share words of sympathy about a loss may also convey more empathy.
2. Make a recipe that only your friend craves
Sure, anybody can purchase a premade dessert or even whip up a traditional dish in their own kitchen and then deliver it to a friend. But why not do something special that lets them know you’ve always been in tune with their needs? For example, if you know someone isn’t a fan of cilantro, make a dish that excludes it instead of sticking to the recipe. Or, if they have a thing for odd combinations, consider creating a platter filled with a mixture of foods so they can enjoy it in one sitting.
3. Mail a small gift for no reason
There’s nothing like the element of surprise to put a smile on someone’s face. Send a small gift to a family member, friend, or even an acquaintance you interact with on the computer but rarely see in person. Your gift can range from a reasonably-priced gift card to their favorite coffee shop, a handmade item crafted by you, or a framed picture of a fun moment you shared. Sending a gift that has nothing to do with a holiday or birthday sends a caring message that lets others know they’re on your mind.
4. Acknowledge others on social media
Instead of always trying to boost your own Facebook page traffic or post comments about your day on Twitter, think about helping another person. If you’re a fan of a certain blog or Instagram account, why not share it with your own followers, tagging them or their web site appropriately? Not only does it convey that you’re open-minded and confident, but taking the time to publicly call attention to another person’s work and talents will surely give them a lift.
5. Play nice in the workplace
Being kind isn’t just about extending pleasant words and actions to friends and family members—it also involves treating colleagues well. I’ve written on this topic many times, advocating the need for there to be more acts of kindness and less rudeness in the workplace. In fact, studies have shown that rudeness spreads and lingers, creating one giant, unhappy mess in the office day after day. It doesn’t have to be that way!
Share a smile with someone you normally don’t, make homemade cookies for no reason and leave them in the kitchen, express thoughts without yelling and cursing, and—if you are in the position to do so—encourage a realistic approach to work-life balance throughout your work culture. All of these are kind behaviors that can boost morale, increase productivity, and just make people happy in general.
6. Offer to babysit
If you know of a couple that’s been stressed and desperately wanting to get away—even just to take a drive around town and grab a quick dinner—you can help. Contact a friend and let them know that you want to babysit for them, no questions asked and no payment expected. The offer will be music to their ears and it will make you feel good to know you’re allowing good friends to spend some much-needed time on caring for themselves.
7. Don’t forget to treat yourself
Finally, acts of kindness don’t just involve interactions with others. If you tend to put your needs last on a regular basis or have thoughts that you don’t deserve something, think again. You’d be surprised at how your own mood can improve as a result of doing anything from buying your favorite flowers and placing them on your kitchen table to acting on a whim and stopping by a salon to get your nails done. Being kind to yourself counts.