Do the Right Thing: Random Acts of Kindness for Each Month
Nowadays, it is all too easy just to focus on yourself. With school, work, and becoming successful, we easily forget that living a happy life isn’t just about taking care of yourself, but also taking care of others. Human interaction is essential for good mental health, and you might enjoy doing good deeds to brighten up people’s days. Start small with a few random acts of kindness, whether for friends, family, or even strangers. Here is a list of things you can do for each month of the year.
Introduce yourself to the new person in town Someone new has moved into your neighborhood, and may not know the area. Help out by greeting him or her with a warm “Hello” and making yourself available to spend time with the person. Invite him or her over to your house for a drink or offer to show the person around town, pointing out the bank, library, and grocery store, and other great local spots. Making them feel at home in a new setting will put him or her at ease, as well as initiate a new friendship.
Give tips Surprisingly, very few people give tips at small stores like bakeries or coffee shops. If the person who helped you out was super friendly and went the extra mile in service, it wouldn’t hurt to place some money in the tip jar. How much you put in there is up to you, but it all adds up: any amount will make the server feel grateful.
Donate a piece of clothing for every new one you purchase You just got a new pair of jeans, and already have a dozen stuffed into your drawers at home. Giving an old pair away to charity or to someone else will not only free up your drawer space, it will also will benefit the other person who ends up receiving a free piece of clothing.
Listen, just listen It may come as a surprise that many of us are not good listeners when it comes to conversing with others. Many people have a tendency to interrupt often, or not follow up with what the person was just saying, choosing instead to re-direct the conversation towards oneself. One good way of breaking this bad cycle is to step back and simply listen. Pay attention to what the person is talking about, process it, and try to come up with a response that relates back to it. If the conversation flows, then both of you will cover many topics relating to each other.
Say “Thank you” more often Even if it is the smallest thing, saying “Thank you” to the cashier at the grocery store demonstrates that you are grateful for his or her service. Even friends will enjoy hearing this when they do things for you that they typically do. These two words will make him or her feel appreciated and brighter throughout the day.
Offer your seat to someone on the bus or subway It doesn’t necessarily have to be an elderly person or a mother with her child (you should give them your seat, though); it can be anyone. Allowing someone to rest his or her feet after a long day of walking is a sign of respect, as well as relief for that person.
Buy something from a neighborhood garage sale Don’t spend your Saturday indoors; go out and check out the local garage sales that are happening around your block. You might find a good bargain, along with getting to know your neighbors better. The same applies for a children’s lemonade stand: buy a cup to help them out, as well as quench your thirst!
Make and bring some homemade goods to work Brighten up your co-workers’ morning by making some breakfast and bringing it to the office. Some have not had the time to eat yet, so your food will help them wake up and jump-start their day. If you’re not a cook, then some store-bought muffins or coffee are always a nice touch!
Offer to wash the dishes for your partner If your partner (or roommate) had a rough day, offer to do the dishes for him or her that night. You can also offer to take out the trash or do any other household cleaning for them. They’ll appreciate your generosity, and they might return the favor when you have an exhausting day.
Organize a get-together with old friends It may have been years since you’ve seen your high school and/or college friends, so why not call them up to arrange a meet-up? Whether it is for a weekend get-away or just for lunch in town, you and your friends will be able to catch up on each other’s lives, as well as take a step back from life’s busy schedule.
Let the other driver at the intersection go before you Even if you have the right of way, allow the other driver to go first. Perhaps he or she is in a rush, and so saving a few seconds at the stop walk would be much appreciated. The same goes for letting a person into the lane, especially during rush hour.
Smile! Smiling nowadays seems rare: perhaps we are afraid to smile at strangers because it might make them (even yourself) feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, you might be surprised at how so many people are flattered at by a simple smile and might even smile back. Seeing someone smile easily lightens up the mood and makes the day seem a bit happier.