“World Kindness Day is celebrated annually on November 13th. On this day, participants attempt to make the world a better place by celebrating and promoting good deeds and pledging acts of kindness, either as individuals or as organizations,” according to helpstopsuicide.org. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is riddled by stress, stigmas against mental health and substance abuse, violence, and a lot of unhappiness. World kindness day is one day a year when individuals can go out of their way to practice kindness and spread good deeds to others.
Although it may not always have time to offer to carry your neighbor’s groceries, or buy a cup of coffee for the gentleman waiting in line behind you, intentionally practicing kindness through words and mannerisms can become part of your daily routine.
Why spread kindness?
Research has shown that kindness is linked closely to happiness and contentment on both the psychological and spiritual levels. Kindness promotes gratitude, compassion, empathy, and interconnectedness. Being kind to others can encourage those on the receiving end to then pay the kindness forward. Practicing kindness also builds friendships, and relationships, and can heighten the awareness of your own good fortune. Kindness is also known to reduce stress, boost our immune systems, and help reduce negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depression according to Barbara Fredrickson, a researcher.
Everyday ways to spread kindness to others
Kindness does not necessarily mean you have to spend money or go out of your way to help. Kindness can be through simple acts that ease the burden of others without taking time out of your day.
Allowing someone to merge in front of you in traffic
Taking time to talk with a neighbor
Saying “hello” to strangers and neighbors alike
Saying “please” and “thank you.”
Picking up litter you see while walking
Holding the door open for someone
Returning your cart at the grocery store
Complimenting a friend or stranger
Donating unneeded clothes and household items
Bagging your own groceries
Writing a card to a friend
Sending a nice text or email to a friend
Offering to take someone’s photo
Random acts of kindness to brighten someone’s day
Sometimes it is nice to go out of your way and surprise someone by buying them a gift, running an errand for them, or even taking time away from your busy day to do something nice.
Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you
Bring a coworker or a friend flowers
Bake a treat for your neighbor
Shovel snow off your neighbor’s porch or driveway
Volunteer at an animal shelter, nursing home, or similar organization in your community
Donate to a local charity
Participate in a trash cleanup
Start your own fundraiser for a cause that is important to you
Offer to make dinner for a friend
Lend a helping hand to a coworker who’s behind on their project, even if this means that you will have to stay late at work
Give a dinner gift certificate to a couple who are facing hard times.
“Kindness is a habit of giving, of wanting to lift burdens from others or to merely provide a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. It humanizes us; it lifts us spiritually. And it is good for us”. -Mother Teresa
Kristen Fuller, M.D., is a clinical content writer and enjoys writing about evidence-based topics in the cutting-edge world of mental health and addiction medicine. She is a family medicine physician and author, who also teaches and contributes to medicine board education. Her passion lies within educating the public on preventable diseases, including mental health disorders and the stigma associated with them. She is also an outdoor activist and spends most of her free time empowering other women to get outside into the backcountry.