51 Random Acts of Kindness and Why They Matter

Neurologists have long known that when we feel physical pain, a part of our brain lights up. A study at the University of California Berkeley has also shown that the brain responds in a similar manner when we witness someone else experience pain. According to researchers, empathy is a fundamental aspect of being human. People are inherently born kind. And being kind to others can have a positive mental aspect on both the giver and receiver of kindness.

Back in the 80s and 90s, a popular bumper sticker read, “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty,” which is credited to Anne Herbert for coming up with the now ubiquitous phrase back in the early 80s.

There are physical and mental health benefits from practicing random acts of kindness. Engaging in acts of kindness releases endorphins in the brain that help us feel good. Physically, the feeling is similar to a “runner’s high.” When you’re compassionate, according to Dacher Keltner, a psychologist on the Berkeley study, “people trust you more, they have better interactions with you, [and] you even get paid better.”

Random Acts of Kindness

There are plenty of ways we can all be a little more kind in our daily lives, and many of them don’t cost any money to perform. Those who practice it daily have said they feel happier overall, and have grown in their positive outlook on life. Listed below are plenty of ideas for getting started. Be warned. Once you get started, you might get hooked.

51 Examples of Random Acts of Kindness

1. Leave a great tip at a restaurant
2. Write a thank you note, on actual paper, and mail it
3. Say Thank You to your janitor
4. Buy lemonade from a kid’s lemonade stand
5. Give a friend a hug
6. Wash your elderly neighbor’s car or take out their trash
7. Donate dog or cat food to the local animal shelter
8. Take a moment to introduce yourself to the new person at work or school
9. Put money in expired parking meters (a popular favorite)
10. Hold the door or elevator open for someone
11. Donate blood
12. Spend time helping at a homeless shelter
13. Let someone else have the parking spot you’ve been stalking
14. Buy school supplies for children who need them
15. Talk to the person at the party who’s standing alone
16. Leave a note of Thanks to your server on the restaurant bill
17. Forgive someone who wronged you, and never bring it up again
18. Smile at strangers on the street
19. Write or email a teacher who made a difference in your life
20. Whenever you get a new piece of clothing, donate an old one
21. Stifle gossip by complimenting the person being talked about
22. Put a post-it with an inspirational saying on the bus window
23. Call your siblings and tell them how much they mean to you
24. Pay the toll for the car behind you
25. Visit a senior center or retirement home

Act of Kindness

26. Offer your leftover meal to a homeless person
27. Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery store line
28. Run an errand for someone
29. Give a lottery ticket to a stranger
30. Mentor someone who wants to do what you do
31. Baby-sit a single parent’s child. For free
32. Let people merge in traffic
33. Help a friend who just moved unpack their stuff
34. Send a care package to a soldier
35. Tell a pregnant woman that she’s glowing
36. Put quarters in someone’s machine at the laundry
37. Leave a Thank You note for your mail person
38. Clean up litter in your neighborhood
39. Give up your seat on the bus or the train
40. Pay for a person’s cab fare
41. Offer a glass of water to anyone working on your house or yard
42. Buy coffee for the security guard or doorman at your building
43. Give to Toys For Tots at your local firehouse during the holidays
44. Give money to an online charity like GoFundMe.com
45. Donate your sick days or vacation to someone at work struggling with health issues
46. Make breakfast in bed for your spouse
47. Buy lunch for the receptionist at work
48. Help a parent struggling with groceries and a baby stroller
49. Offer your newspaper to someone on the bus or subway
50. Giving a glowing recommendation for someone
51. Call your parents or grandparents just to say Hi

Random Acts of Kindness have become a cultural movement and are now practiced worldwide. In the United States, Random Acts of Kindness Day is celebrated on February 17, and worldwide on November 13. There is even a foundation dedicated to spreading the message at RandomActsOfKindness.org.

Related:

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51 Random Acts of Kindness and Why They Matter
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51 Random Acts of Kindness and Why They Matter
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There are physical and mental health benefits from practicing random acts of kindness. Here are 51 examples to help you feel better in your daily life.
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Inspire Malibu
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