With so much tragedy and despair making headlines on a regular basis, it can often feel like the world is a dark place. That's why it's important to remember that there is still plenty of goodness to go around and to do your part in spreading that goodness around.
While undertaking more elaborate acts of charity is awesome and amazing, many hardworking everyday people simply don't have the time to do that on a regular basis. Instead, here are some quick and easy ideas for small random acts of kindness that you can enact to help make the world a better place.
1. Hold the Elevator Open
People are often busy and in a rush. When you're late for work and wanting the elevator to move as quickly as possible, it can be easy to pretend you don't see someone else racing to catch it. Instead, slow down and take a moment to hold the door open so someone else's day doesn't start off on a frustrating foot.
2. Donate Hair
Most people get haircuts regularly. Instead of allowing your hairdresser to sweep up your trimmed tresses and toss them in a trashcan, you can go a bit longer between cuts and donate to a charity that provides real human hair wigs for people who have lost their own due to medical reasons.
3. Make Amends
Nobody is perfect, and odds are you've made mistakes and hurt people without meaning to. It's human nature to want to avoid admitting fault, but it can also be so freeing to own up to it when you've done something wrong. Reach out to someone in your life after you've had a falling out and offer your sincere apologies. Not only will it make them feel good, but it'll lift a weight off your own shoulders.
4. Compliment a Co-Worker
It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and some bosses have an unfortunate tendency to pit their employees against one another. Instead of giving in to the crushing "rat race," lift one another up. Pay a co-worker a compliment for a job well done or go out of your way to thank them for helping you with a project.
5. Exercise Compassion
You never know what struggles other people are dealing with. If someone is nasty to you for no reason, it's very possible that they're dealing with problems causing them to lash out unfairly. While it's important not to be a doormat, it's equally important not to take things personally. If someone in your life is acting uncharacteristically, don't just ignore it — reach out to them and offer your support.
6. Hide Dollar Bills in Kids' Toy Aisles
Have you ever been down on your luck and unable to treat yourself or your kids to something special? Well, this is a fun and simple way to help the less fortunate. Next time you're in a store, sneak a dollar bill (or several) near kids' toys. You just might make the day of someone who wasn't able to afford the special treat on their own.
7. Visit With the Elderly
The elderly are the backbone of our society. Unfortunately, some older men or women are left without family members to visit with them, for one reason or another. Take a few hours out of your month to volunteer at a local nursing home. You may be surprised to learn just how much it means to the older residents to have someone to chat with for a bit.
8. Buy Books for Kids
Some public schools are better funded than others. Support those who need it most by buying new books (or donating old ones) to a local underfunded school — you can easily find the neediest ones in your area by searching online. Alternatively, you can buy or donate books to a local children's hospital.
9. Donate Work Clothes to a Women's Shelter
Fashions change or our bodies do, making it necessary to discard our old clothing for a variety of reasons. Instead of tossing your gently used items or donating them to a generic charity, find out if your local women's shelter is accepting donations. Specifically when it comes to work clothes, this can make all the difference for a woman trying to get back on her feet after escaping a difficult circumstance.
10. Pay for the Grocery Bill of the Person Behind You
Sparing a few extra dollars to cover someone else's groceries is a fast and easy way to spread kindness. You never know what someone else's situation is, and one day they just might be inspired to pay it forward.
11. Pay an Expired Parking Meter
All drivers know that it's a huge bummer to get a parking ticket. It's super frustrating when you race back to your car only to realize you're just a few minutes late and got a ticket in the meantime. If you're passing by and happen to notice one just expired, drop a few coins that you have to spare and do someone a wonderful favor.
12. Leave New Diapers and Wipes on Changing Tables
Being a new parent is so tough, and being a single parent is even tougher. There are a million things to juggle, and it's easy to accidentally run out of baby supplies. Changing your baby and realizing you've forgotten a diaper or wipes is disastrous. Leaving out fresh supplies next time you go into a public restroom is an incredibly simple way to help someone out in a parenting crisis.
13. Leave an Extra Generous Tip
The service industry can be grueling. Waiters and waitresses have to put up with rudeness and near-abuse from customers on a daily basis. A simple way to brighten a service industry professional's day is to give them an extra generous tip if you can spare the money.
14. Let Someone Cut You in Line
Waiting in line can be frustrating. If you spot someone who seems like they're frantic or in a real rush, offer to let them skip you. The TSA line at the airport is a great place to do this.
15. Leave Money in a Vending Machine
We've all been there: You're dying for a snack or soda and realize you're just a few cents short of what you need at the vending machine. Brighten a stranger's day by leaving your spare change in the machine for the next snacker to use.
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