9 acts of kindness you haven’t tried (yet)

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To help put your compassion in action, we brainstormed some unique acts of kindness for you to use.

When’s the last time someone went out of his or her way to be kind to you? Whether it was yesterday, last week, or six months ago, and whether they bought your coffee, complimented your style, or simply gave you a smile, one thing’s for sure: It probably felt pretty good to be on the receiving end.

And because it felt so good, we’re willing to bet you’ve thought about paying that kindness forward to others (because let’s face it, it also feels good to be on the giving end).

To help put your compassion in action, we brainstormed some unique acts of kindness for you to use for the family members, friends, and strangers you interact with every day.

  1. Create a holiday for someone. Is there someone in your life you’d like to appreciate every year? Consider creating a holiday just for them (think Dave Appreciation Day or Ashley Day). What you do on this holiday is up to you (Gift giving? Cake eating? Party throwing?), but the purpose should be this: On this day every year, this friend, coworker, or family member should feel out-of-this-world appreciated.
  2. Write letters for strangers. Few things are as meaningful as receiving a hand-written note from someone you love in the mail. But have you ever thought about writing a letter to someone you don’t know? It could be as easy as writing a handful of encouraging letters and dropping them in mailboxes on your way to work. Or, if you’d like to have a more far-reaching impact, consider dropping off a bundle of encouragements at your local post office and asking if a few mail carriers can drop them off along their routes. You never know how a simple scribble of “You’re awesome!” or “I hope you have a great week!” could change someone’s day.
  3. Share overheard compliments. Have you ever been in a conversation where someone’s name is brought up, and something amazingly kind is said about that person? How much more impactful would that compliment be if the person actually heard it? When you find yourself in these situations, think of yourself as a messenger. Why not tell him what was said? Why not let her know what people think about her? Or, if you find yourself talking positively about someone who isn’t there to hear it, make a note to tell him in person later.
  4. Break the gossip cycle. Speaking of talking about people behind their backs, the next time you find yourself in a gossip-driven conversation, make an effort to say something good about the person of topic. While others may say, “Did you hear what she said the other day?” or “Oh my gosh, I have to tell you about this thing she did this morning,” interrupt with something positive, like, “You know what? Allie always has a smile on her face and I admire that about her.” Then take it a step further by living out tip number 3 above.
  5. Give Amazon Smile a try. If you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, think about signing up for Amazon Smile. Amazon offers an in-depth description of what it’s all about, but here’s Amazon Smile in a nutshell: In just a few short clicks, you can set up your Amazon account to donate 0.5 percent of your purchase to a charity of your choice. So whether you’d like to donate to the animal shelter down the road or to an international non-profit, you can easily make a difference through your every-day online shopping.
  6. Nominate a friend for Love Letter Bundle. Know someone who needs a little extra love? Nominate them for Love Letter Bundle, a non-profit that allows you to request that letters from all over the world are sent to your loved one. Feel free to nominate someone now, or find out how to write letters to someone who’s in need of some lovin’ right now.
  7. Understand a homeless person’s needs. How many times have you stopped your car at an intersection and avoided eye contact with the homeless person on the corner? Even if you don’t have anything to give, try rolling down your window next time to ask how he’s doing. Smile at him. Acknowledge him. Ask if there’s anything he absolutely needs. Is it food? Water? Clothing? A tent? Find out what it is and buy it for him, even if it means asking your friends to pitch in. Then, keep it in your car as a gift for when you see him next. It could change his day by not only being heard, but also being remembered.
  8. Help others by being a trivia wiz. If you like to put your knowledge to the test, bookmark freerice.com on your computer, tablet, or phone. Supported by the United Nations World Food Program, Free Rice donates 10 grains of rice to those who need it for every question you get right. In fact, millions upon millions of grains are donated each year as people answer questions about grammar, science, geography, and more. How can your knowledge help end world hunger?
  9. Create meal trains. Know someone who is struggling financially, physically, or emotionally? Get six friends together to make her dinner for a week – one dinner for each of you to make. If someone’s having financial problems, the meals could lift the financial weight of paying for groceries that week. If a woman is a new mother, the meals could make it that much easier to focus on a newborn. If a friend’s family member passed away, the meals could bring him comfort and community during his grieving process.

And finally, while we only promised nine acts of kindness, this article has put is in a giving mood. In all that you do, don’t forget about this final, often-forgotten tip:

Be kind to yourself. When’s the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and smiled? When’s the last time you forgave yourself? When’s the last time you felt comfortable in your own skin? Take some time each day to love on yourself by writing down things you like about yourself, buying yourself a gift, or more. Even you deserve to be treated kindly by yourself.

What unique ideas do you have for spreading acts of kindness? We could probably learn from you, too. Share them with us by leaving a comment below.

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