In an effort to help contribute to the local community, my challenge in February was to perform a random act of kindness every day. My only rule was each act must be different. While it’s a good idea to practice kindness every day, this challenge gives you a chance to be intentional and unabashed with your kind deeds.
One of the perks of kindness is it directly benefits the giver as well as the recipient. Performing an act of kindness helps to increase your energy levels and promote a sense of fulfillment and well-being. Being kind to others not only makes you happier in the moment, but it also improves your health, decreases feelings of loneliness and depression, and promotes longevity.
To get the benefits of kindness, don’t feel you need to do epic acts or commit substantial time out of your day. Many of my acts of kindness this month were simple and done while I went about my day (e.g. thanking the bus driver, holding the door open for others, or making positive small talk with strangers). Keeping it simple helps to make kindness a consistent part of your routine. In fact, research has shown that small and frequent acts of kindness lead to the highest levels of well-being and happiness.
Performing regular acts of kindness doesn’t need to cost much either. In total, I spent $269 on all my kind acts this month, or just under $10 per day. Compared to more materialistic pursuits of happiness, kindness gives you more bang for your buck. I decided to splurge on a few items, however. My most expensive act of kindness was to give event tickets to someone ($90).
You certainly don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the benefits of kindness. Half of my random acts of kindness were free, and most of the others were very low-cost. In fact, some of my favourite acts of kindness this month were also the least expensive (e.g. giving out $1 scratch-and-win tickets to strangers, or enlisting my neighbours to sign a thank-you note for our mailman). If your budget is tight, try doing all your random acts of kindness for free. It certainly is possible to do this challenge without spending a dime.
Take the Challenge
Want to try this challenge for yourself? Here are some suggestions:
- Create the challenge – set the parameters for your challenge. You can adapt the challenge to reflect your personal interests and constraints. For example, if your budget is tight, try doing all your random acts of kindness for free.
- Brainstorm ideas – start by brainstorming a long list of possible acts of kindness. This gives you a chance to be creative and think outside the box. To help brainstorm ideas, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation provides an extensive list of kind acts, as well as other resources and information.
- Perform kind acts in the morning – performing a random act of kindness first thing in the morning gives you an immediate boost, which can carry you through the day. It’s a good pick-me-up to start your day.
- Track your progress – record your acts of kindness each day in a journal or simple spreadsheet. Keeping track of your kind deeds is fun and feels good. In fact, happiness increases simply by counting your own acts of kindness. My advice is to record your acts of kindness at the end of the day, which will give you another boost of happiness to end your day.
- Spread kindness through all your networks – perform random acts of kindness in all your networks (social, educational, occupational, religious, recreational or other groups). Spreading kindness through all your networks will help to strengthen the bonds and relationships in all areas of your life.
- Be kind to strangers – the true testament to the power of human kindness is to do something nice for a complete stranger. Make sure that some of your kind acts are aimed at people you don’t know and may never see again.
- Stick with it – after the month is up, make random acts of kindness a regular part of your daily routine. Remember, small and frequent acts of kindness lead to the highest levels of happiness.