Think about the last time someone did something sweet for you when you didn’t expect it. It probably brightened your day or at least made you smile. If you’re someone who looks for a reason to spread happiness, then you’re in luck. National Do Something Nice Day is observed on October 5th each year. Although you may do kind things every day, its fun to take one day to do a little extra. There are many ways to participate and get your family involved. Here are eight ways to join in on the kindness.
Leave a Surprise
Pay for the car behind you in the drive-thru, leave a sweet treat on your co-worker’s desk when they aren’t looking, or give a bigger-than-necessary tip to your server or bartender. Treating a friend or stranger to a small item or amount of money without expecting anything in return can make their day. It’s especially fun when it is a complete surprise, and you’ll feel great about pulling off a stealthy move. If you receive a surprise, be sure to pay it forward.
Compliment a Stranger
Think about the last time someone complimented your clothes, hair, or smile. While its great to be recognized for more than your looks, it doesn’t hurt to let someone know they are looking good! When a compliment is unexpected, specifically from someone you don’t know, it can really turn your day around. Try complimenting someone in an unexpected way. Tell your barista your drink was perfect, let the bank teller know their smile is contagious, or call your mom to remind her that she is incredible.
This is something nice that will keep on going for future generations. Plant a tree in your yard or donate to a local arboretum or conservatory garden. Not only will you be making the world more beautiful, but you’ll also help clean the air we all breathe.
Bring in a Treat
If you like to bake, whip up some brownies or cookies and take them into work. If your child’s school allows it, send in a treat for the office staff and teachers. Don’t forget about those who may be working behind the scenes such as custodians and maintenance workers. They work harder than many, sometimes with little recognition.
If you have time to commit to a more significant project, look into volunteer opportunities in your area. Stop by your local shelter to inquire about walking dogs or cleaning kennels. A church might need someone to help with easy or long-term projects. It doesn’t even have to be a formal volunteer program, keeping your neighborhood clean by picking up trash counts too!
Make a donation to a local non-profit or charity. Money or prizes for their fundraisers are usually accepted. Call them to see what they are in need of most. Many companies also allow you to set up small charitable donations straight from your paycheck, making it a painless way to make small donations all year.
If you can’t donate money, go through your basement, garage, or attic to find items that you no longer need, but that are still in good shape. This act of kindness is a bonus because you’ll be doing something for yourself at the same time. Donate items to a local charity or religious center. Ask your kids to donate some of their used toys to those in need while you’re at it. Clearing out the clutter in your home can create a feeling of calmness as well.
Ask an elderly neighbor if they need help with yard work, take on the task in the office that no one likes to do, or offer to do the carpool for your fellow parents when it’s not your turn. These might seem like small tasks, but they can have a significant impact on those who might feel stressed by too many items on their to-do list.
Be sure to ask first, and if help is declined, it’s okay to move on to someone who needs you more.
Send a Surprise
An unexpected package or letter in the mail is rare these days but can certainly cheer someone up or brighten their day. Think about those who might be in need of a pick-me-up, such as a relative who lives alone, a college student, or those in the military. If sending a large package isn’t possible, send a gift card or just a letter with words of encouragement. Flowers make great surprises too; talk to a local florist for the best option for your recipient.
Remember, just a few simple acts of kindness can not only brighten someone’s day, but they will make you happier too. Do one or two and don’t forget that doing something nice isn’t limited to one specific day, but something you can continue to practice daily.