Imagine you’re having one of those days. Maybe you are sad about a recent loss or stressed over a to-do list that just keeps growing.
Then, a complete stranger does something nice for you, out of the blue, for no reason at all. Although your day still isn’t great, you feel somehow lighter. Valued. Cared for.
That’s the simple (but very real) joy of a random act of kindness. Even better—the stranger feels joy, too.
Given how wonderful this small gesture can make the giver and the recipient feel, why don’t more of us do it? One study revealed that givers tend to estimate the impact of a random act of kindness based on the value of the gift—such as a cup of coffee. Recipients also consider the fact that someone did something nice for them. That makes the gesture a lot more meaningful to them.
If you would like to spread joy through small acts, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Send an encouraging text to a friend who is struggling
- Give a compliment
- Offer to take someone’s shopping cart back for them
- Let someone cut in front of you in line
- Take time to genuinely thank your server
- Drop off flowers to an older neighbour
- Do that one chore your partner just hates doing
Don’t overthink it
Research also shows that some people talk themselves out of random acts of kindness. They may worry that it won’t be well-received by the recipient, but that’s very rarely the case. So the next time you have an instinct to do something nice for someone else, don’t overthink it. Just do it.