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Random Acts of Kindness: What Are They & Why Do They Matter?

Chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve either been the recipient or the giver in a random act of kindness. Think back to a time when you found yourself in a difficult situation and someone helped you. Perhaps a friend paid you a compliment or maybe the person in front of you paid for your morning coffee. A random act of kindness can be anything from a simple smile or caring word to a good deed, selfless act, or small gift. Sweet surprises like this can really make a difference in your day.

However, did you also know that random acts of kindness can also be good for your overall health and well-being? In this article, we’ll examine some of the reasons that random acts of kindness matter.

Top 5 Benefits of Random Acts of Kindness

Below, we’ll take a closer look at the top 5 benefits associated with random acts of kindness.

Encourages you to be grateful

When you do something nice for someone else, it encourages you to count your blessings. This is especially true if the recipient is less fortunate or has gotten into a tough situation. When you see that you can give something- no matter how small it may seem- you see the abundance in your own life.

Lowers your stress level

When you step away from yourself and your situations to focus on others, it gives you perspective. You see that perhaps your issues may not be as terrible as you might think they are. Plus, doing something good for someone else releases endorphins, which make you feel better and increase your happiness.

Improves your mood

Many studies have shown that engaging in random acts of kindness has a positive effect on your mood. When you do something nice for someone, you begin to feel better about life and society in general. Research has proven there is a connection between random acts of kindness and reduce anxiety, higher energy levels, and improved mood. In fact, the pleasure/reward centers in the giver of the random act of kindness light up in a similar way that the recipients do. This effect has even been given a name: “helper’s high”.

Reduces physical pain

Some research indicates that you may even experience a reduction in physical pain when you practice random acts of kindness. As mentioned, your brain and nervous system release endorphins when you engage in random acts of kindness. These endorphins not only improve your mood but they are also known to be natural painkillers because of their ability to reduce pain.

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Improves your relationships

When you engage in a random act of kindness for someone else, they will remember that in the future. They will recall how you helped them with fondness. Research has proven that random acts of kindness promote good feelings among people and improve connections- which ultimately leads to lasting positive interpersonal relationships.

Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness

Perhaps the thought of doing something for someone else is foreign. You may have no clue where you should begin and there’s nothing wrong with that. It can be tough to come up with ideas. However, we’ve compiled a list of ideas below. Some will cost you nothing more than a moment or two of your time, while others are more in-depth. You choose what you feel like you can handle and what fits the situation.

  • If someone is coming into a building behind you and their hands are full, hold the door for them
  • If you’re in line at the grocery store with a full cart and someone behind you only has a few items, allow them to go in front of you
  • Check on your elderly neighbors or shut-ins
  • Donate clothes and items that you don’t use anymore to charity
  • Tape some change to a parking meter/vending machine
  • Give a new employee or student a tour of the work area/school and offer to sit with them at lunch
  • Volunteer at your child’s school, your local homeless shelter/soup kitchen, a nursing home, or anywhere
  • During the holidays, adopt a child/family to provide gifts for
  • Send a “Get Well” or “Thinking of You” card to someone- you can sign it or send it anonymously
  • Instead of gifts for your birthday, ask that people donate to your favorite charity instead
  • Smile at a stranger on the street or take it a step further and give them a compliment
  • When you get your coffee or food, pay for the person behind you in line
  • When an associate gives you exceptional service, make sure the manager is aware of it
  • Encourage body positivity by leaving kind notes in dressing rooms
  • Offer to babysit for parents that need a date night or help a new mom with nightly feedings
  • Clean up trash at your local park/beach or in your neighborhood
  • Visit a nursing home and spend time with those who rarely or never receive visitors or bring in treats (make sure to clear it with the administrator before bringing in treats)
  • Send a “Thank You” note to someone that has impacted your life
  • Make a payment on someone’s layaway that hasn’t been paid in a while- or, if you can pay it off for them
  • Participate in a fundraising activity such as a 5k, walk, or other activity
  • Shovel the snow off the driveway, mow lawns, or rake leaves for those who are unable to do it themselves
  • Offer to mentor a young person who is entering your profession
  • Stop and help someone who is stranded on the side of the road
  • If someone is having a bad day, let them vent- and listen, don’t give advice unless they ask

Hopefully these will inspire you to engage in random acts of kindness. Choose one or several from the list- or come up with your own. Then follow through with it and see how it makes you feel. Chances are, you’ll want to continue this journey.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are lots of things you can do for others. The best part is, engaging in random acts of kindness doesn’t just benefit the receiver- it will also benefit the giver’s overall health and well-being. Of course, these are only a few of the rewards that you’ll receive. There are so many more.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how small the gesture is: a simple smile or kind word can make a huge difference. Random acts of kindness always have a positive impact on the giver and the receiver.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Krista Mounsey

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