I’ve Joined A Movement

Posted on April 18, 2013


seedsThe Random Acts of Kindness movement has been around for a number of years and thankfully, is gaining momentum in this ultra fast paced and altruistic culture we live in today. For years study’s have shown how doing kind things for others increases our own levels of happiness as well as theirs. And furthermore, that happiness tends to be contagious. You see, it’s not just the recipient of the kindness that feels the affects of increased happiness, but it’s also acquaintances of the recipient and even the third-party observers of the act that feel increased happiness and are inspired to act more generously themselves.

Research has found that the more people participated in meaningful activities, the happier they were and the more purposeful their lives felt. Pleasure-seeking behaviors, on the other hand, did not make people happier. I have been known to (all too often) partake in the activity of retail therapy, especially on cold damp rainy days as they so often are here on the west coast. Instead, of participating in this pleasure-seeking behaviour today, I looked to add a little something to my life in a more meaningful way.

Today I decided to buy the coffee of the lady in the Tim Horton’s drive thru behind me. As it turned out, I ended up buying her whole lunch, but that’s even better and $6 wasn’t going to deter me from my random act of kindness. This isn’t an act of colossal impact by any means, but it may just have brightened her day and perhaps may inspire her to do something nice for someone else later on.

What was interesting, was the ladies working this particular drive thru told me that this sort of thing happens daily. Infact, someone had paid another stranger’s bill just not long before I arrived.  They said it happens everyday. WOW! Not that I thought I was being a hero or an outstanding citizen with my small gesture, but I was so (pleasantly) surprised with the popularity of this relatively unspoken good will gesture in my community. It was like receiving double the bonus points on my happiness ROI.

After this weeks tragedy in West Texas and horrific violence in Boston, MA its so rewarding or maybe it just feels like the right thing to do, to add just a small amount of kindness, compassion, and humanity back into a world of heartache, cruelty and malice. Some days it’s easy to loose faith, but despite what we see regularly on the news and in the media, the world really is full of good and we can all add to it each day.

These are little things you could consider doing today, or everyday, just to keep the movement alive.

1. Give up your seat
2. Hold a door open for someone
3. Give a stranger a (sincere) compliment
4. Make someone laugh
5. Give someone a hug
6. Take time to really listen to someone
7. Let one car in on every journey
8. Make someone new feel welcome
9. Help someone who’s lost

10. Have a conversation with a stranger
11. Pick up litter as you walk
12. Let someone in front of you in the queue
13. Read a story with a child
14. Tell someone they mean a lot to you
15. Let someone have your parking spot
16. Offer your change to someone struggling to find the right amount
17. Put money in someone’s expired parking meter
18. Buy cakes or fruit for your colleagues
19. Invite your neighbour round for a drink and a chat
20. Offer to help with someone’s shopping

21. Tell someone if you notice they’re doing a good job
22. Pass on a book you’ve enjoyed
23. Say sorry (you know who to)
24. Forgive someone for what they’ve done
25. Visit a sick friend, relative or neighbour
26. Buy an unexpected gift for someone
27. Bake something for a neighbour
28. Pay for someone in the queue behind
29. Do a chore that you don’t normally do

30. Help out someone in need
31. Offer to look after a friend’s children
32. Offer to mow your neighbour’s lawn
33. Donate your old things to charity
34. Give food to a homeless person and take time to talk with them
35. Visit someone who may be lonely
36. Give blood
37. Get back in contact with someone you’ve lost touch with
38. Donate to a cause you or someone you love cares about
39. Volunteer your time
40. Write someone a handwritten letter

Do you have any suggestions for this list? 

Have you ever done a random act of kindness?