The world can be a pretty harsh place sometimes. Think to the last time you had to commute (Probably this morning, or at least very recently.) How many people did you pass? Thousands? I’m willing to bet that 99.5% of them were in a hurry, rushing to work or school, taking part in the usual craze of the morning rush hour. Freeway accidents, crammed subways, delays, cancelations, bad weather, pre-coffee hostility. It all adds to our bad moods and hastiness.
But have you ever taken a step back, to witness all that’s going on around us? To take it all in, and wonder how we all got so darn busy? To smile at the person selling us our newspaper and ask them how they are, or to hold a door open for the person running behind us? Drop some coins into the homeless guy’s cap outside the coffee shop? We guarantee, that if you did, even the harshest of commutes wouldn’t seem so bad.
Here are a few ways you can practice some random acts of kindness to bring a tiny slice of joy to your life, and potentially a much larger slice to someone else’s…
Pay it Forward
Fancy buying a total stranger a coffee to brighten their day? When you buy yours, ask the barista to charge you for yours, and the person’s behind you. You can be as discreet as you like, pay and walk away (which is kinda the idea) or hang around and wait for your high five, totally up to you but either way, you've just added a smile to someone else's day.
Donate the Gift of Time
Giving money to charity is an obvious way of being kind. But your generosity can be just as beneficial if you donate your time instead. It can be to a charity, by volunteering in a homeless shelter for example. Or, it could be closer to home – if a relative has a new baby, offer your sitting services so they can have an evening out or simply enjoy an undisturbed, long, hot bubble bath.
Or you could offer an elderly neighbor a lift to the grocery store, or cut their lawn or do their vacuuming. Even popping in for a tea and chat could make a drastic positive difference to their day.
Flash a Winning Smile
Smile at someone you don’t know, and you’ll more than likely get one back. But aside from that, that person might be having an internal struggle, or be upset or stressed. Something as simple as a smile could take their mind off their troubles for a short while, and you gave them a reason to smile. How nice would that feel?
Pay a Compliment (But Make it Genuine!)
Be it your partner/best friend/gym buddy/boss, tell them something nice (assuming you like them, and you can make it sound like you mean it). It can be about their appearance, but better still, their personality. Commenting on how kind/happy/approachable/knowledgeable someone is can really have an impact.
Write a Love Letter
This doesn’t have to be to your beau. It can be to a long lost friend or your Granny who lives out of town. It’s such a delight to receive mail other than bill reminders and pizza leaflets! Taking the time to hand write a letter to someone, telling them how much you love/miss them and how special they are to you is priceless.
The world is a crazy and sometimes hectic place, but small acts of kindness like these have a way of snowballing. Your smile and recognition of a stranger could lead them to a smile and so forth. You could be a center of positivity and joy to those around you, and what better feeling is there than making someone else's day a little bit brighter?