Did you know that performing random acts of kindness can profoundly affect your attitude, outlook and even your health? That’s according to the Mayo Clinic, which also says practicing kind acts can “rewire your brain” to help you be more present to others while boosting your mood.
For some people, the more random an act of kindness is, the better. There’s even an unofficial “Random Acts of Kindness Day,” celebrated each year in the United States on February 17. Don’t worry if you missed it! There’s no reason to limit yourself to just one day of lifting someone else’s spirits.
You can start right now with our 30-day challenge. Just choose and carry out a random act of kindness for each day. By the time you finish, you’ll be well on your way to making the world a kinder place.
1. Leave an Extra Big Tip
Give a restaurant server, takeout delivery person, or curbside pick-up employee a moment—or maybe even an entire day—of joy by leaving a $5, $10 or $20 tip instead of the usual amount. That extra tip could be just what that person needs to buy lunch, diapers or a few more groceries.
2. Pay for the Next Person in Line
Next time you pay at the drive-thru, spring for the order of the person behind you, too. Your kind gesture may inspire that person to carry out a few kind acts of their own.
3. Love on a Shelter Animal
Shower a homeless animal with kindness by volunteering to walk or play with dogs or cuddle cats at your local animal shelter or rescue organization. Maybe you could even foster a dog or cat while it waits for a home. Or donate dog or cat food, old towels and blankets, cleaning supplies, pet toys or money. To get an idea of what homeless pets need most, contact your local shelter or rescue to find out which items are on its wish list.
4. Hold the Door for Someone
Offering a smile and holding the door for the person behind you may be just what that person needs to forge on through a rough day. Your kind act may even motivate that person to do the same for someone else in need of an open-door moment.
5. Leave Money on a Vending Machine
Who wouldn’t love to find a couple bucks and a note saying, “This treat is on me. Enjoy!” while digging for change at a vending machine? Leave some quarters or bills for the next person to make their day.
6. Feed Someone’s Parking Meter
We’ve all stood anxiously in line, knowing that nearby, our parking meter was ticking down to zero. Save some delayed person from a parking ticket by dropping in enough change to buy another hour.
7. Commend a Store Employee
Retail and grocery store workers are doing their best to keep us stocked up on what we need, even during times when some customers may be impatient or cranky. Compliment an employee to the available supervisor or send the manager a card or email commending an employee’s efficiency or helpful attitude. That card posted in the employee break room will boost that worker’s mood and inspire others.
8. Send a Card to a Friend
Everybody loves receiving a surprise “just because I like you” card. Mail or drop off a card telling someone how much you appreciate their friendship or encouraging them through a rough patch.
9. Post an Encouraging Note in a Public Place
Make someone smile with an encouraging and positive quote or statement posted on a restroom mirror. Reading an encouraging note like, “You’re beautiful just as you are,” or, “Hang in there. Change will come,” may be what someone needs to keep moving forward.
10. Help a Neighbor
Mow a neighbor’s lawn, shovel the driveway or rake leaves. Offer to take your neighbor’s dog on daily walks while he or she recovers from surgery. Be a good neighbor, and your neighbors will also be there when you need them.
11. Compliment Someone
Let a coworker know that he or she did an outstanding job on a project. Compliment a mom on what a good job she’s doing raising her kids. Give your neighbors kudos for their manicured lawn or thriving flower or vegetable garden.
12. Participate in a Virtual Fundraiser
Even if you may not be able to pound the pavement in a 5K right now, but you can still raise money through a virtual fundraiser. Find a cause you care about online or create your own with a Go Fund Me page. Organize a canned food or coat collection drive in your neighborhood and volunteer to pick up and drop off collected items.
13. Donate to a Cause You Care About
Give bathroom basics, diapers or clothing to a women’s shelter or homeless shelter. Donate your old phone. Donate used eyeglasses to national organizations such as New Eyes, a United Way Agency, or Lion’s Club International. You may even be able to donate glasses to a local church, or a local vision center. Search online for a cause you care about and donate money, items or time.
14. Post a Positive Review
Were you pleased with the small business owner who repaired your furnace or a restaurant with speedy curbside pick-up? Put in a good word with a positive review on Yelp, Facebook neighborhood groups or other online review platforms.
You’re halfway there! Feeling inspired? Share your ideas for random acts of kindness or a kind act that you practice regularly in the comments when you’re done reading.
15. Hold Off on That Negative Review
Before you write a scathing review of that surly pizza delivery person, cut that worker some slack. After all, you never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. Maybe she was preoccupied with her kids’ school closing, or he was worried about his mom’s declining health. Sometimes, holding back harsh words is a true act of kindness.
16. Bring Treats to Work
Nothing cheers a weary coworker like finding a plate of muffins, donuts, cookies or some healthy breakfast bars on the break room table. Don’t have a workplace because you’re retired or working from home? Send office treats with someone you know who’s still commuting to an office or donate food to our local fire station or hospital.
17. Deliver Homemade Food to a Friend
Doesn’t it seem like food always tastes better when someone else prepares it? Next time you make a big pot of soup, a stir-fry dish or a favorite entree, portion out some to deliver to a friend.
18. Post an Encouraging Quote on Social Media
Search online for inspirational, encouraging or funny quotes. Then post them on Facebook, Instagram or another social media platform. Who knows? A quote you post may change someone’s outlook for the better. Need help getting started? Search BrainyQuote, Goodreads and Pinterest to find quotes that speak to you.
19. Volunteer to Help Others
You can find organizations that welcome your help as a volunteer. Maybe you can answer phone calls from home, deliver meals, hand out groceries at a drive-up food pantry or tutor students via Zoom. To get started, search online under “volunteer opportunities” and your city’s name.
20. Call Someone Who Lives Alone
When people are stuck at home, even hardcore introverts miss their day-to-day banter. And those who thrive on social connections really feel the pain of isolation. So, keep your friends who live alone in mind and call them regularly for conversation and mutual encouragement.
21. Be Kind to the Birds
Hang a bird feeder, provide fresh water or scatter seed on your sidewalk. Food is scarce in the winter for our feathered friends, and watching them feed outside your window has a calming effect on you, too.
22. Pamper Pets
Buy some chew toys for your dog or something for your cat to bat around the house. Bond with your dog or cat with petting and massages. Give your puppy an extra walk. Drizzle tuna juice on your kitty’s food. Buy your bird a new mirror for its mental stimulation. You’ll all be happier as a result. Don’t have a pet? See challenge #3.
23. Let Someone Else Ahead in Line
If you’re not in a hurry at the grocery store, pharmacy or coffee shop, you can bet someone else is. So, smile and let the person behind you in line go ahead. Maybe your kind act will inspire them to do the same for someone else as they roll their cart down the long aisle of life.
24. Send a Surprise Gift
Surprise a friend with a book, warm scarf, canister of popcorn, coffee or tea, or another gift that will make them smile. Or, give a virtual gift with music downloads, online classes or a subscription to a streaming service, wine club or a meditation app.
25. Donate to a Food Pantry
Next time you grocery shop, pick up extra canned fruits, vegetables, soups and beans, pasta and rice and donate them to a local food bank. Donate to a “little food pantry,” a movement of mini pantries stocked and used by “neighbors helping neighbors” in your city or county. Your donated items will help struggling families and individuals go to bed with full stomachs and one less worry on their minds.
26. Send a Thank You Card to an Essential Worker
Send a thoughtful card to hospital staffers, grocery store and retail workers, police officers, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, city employees or other essential workers. Tell them how much you appreciate what they do and the sacrifices they make to keep everything up and running.
27. Thank a Teacher
Does your child or grandchild have a teacher that inspired them or took extra time to help them tackle a difficult subject? Thank him or her with a card, kind email, note to a supervisor or a small gift.
28. Donate Books
Books are meant to be read, not to gather dust on shelves. So, donate used books to senior living communities, children’s or other hospitals, jails, prisons, women’s shelters, public libraries or anywhere else people seek to expand their minds. While you’re at it, donate a few to those “little libraries” dotting neighborhood streets, maybe even taking a book for yourself in exchange.
29. Give a Friend a List of Their Best Qualities
List 10 things you love about a friend in an email or card and send it to that person. You might write, “You have the best sense of humor,” for example. Or, “You were there for me during my divorce.” Or, “I admire your compassion towards animals.” Speak from your heart, and you and your friend will both benefit.
30. Receive Kindness
It’s easy to focus so much on being kind to others that you forget to let people extend some kindness to you. If a neighbor clears snow from your driveway, smile and say thank you. When someone compliments you, accept graciously. Allow yourself to soak up random acts of kindness from others so they can also feel good about adding kindness to the world.
Now that you’ve got some ideas for random acts of kindness, go with this list or think of some ideas of your own. We’ve created a printable version so you can track your progress and share with friends. You may enjoy the feeling you get from random acts of kindness so much that being kind to others becomes a consistent part of your everyday life.
30-Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge
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When we go out to a restaurant we also tip the cook/s for a job well done
What a great article!
It made my day by just reading the wonderful comments posted here. I look forward to this daily challenge. Thank you!
Nice Brother you are great keep going brother
It is illegal to feed someone else’s parking meter
Why is that??Just wondering…
depends on the city’s ordinance
Walking to the Dollar Store, I passed a homeless couple with a dog on the lawn of a nearby church. At the store, I bought treats for my cats. On the way home, I stopped and gave the couple some of the treats for their dog, telling them, “Don’t tell the dog that these are for cats.” 🙂
I give money to home less people on the street.
We all need each other in times like this. The Greatest Gift anyone can Give another Person is Love.
Every morning I send out a morning Inspiration reading to about 30 people just to lift there Spirit and Raise their Joy. Days that I miss sending it out they remind me that I missed. It’s so little that We can do that will have such Great impact on Others Lives. Everything in The Dollar Tree Store cost $1 so let your heart and mind think of making some One Else Smile. Your Blessings come when you deny yourself and think of Others. Wonderful Ideals I Love ❤️ it. It brings joy to my heart to do More. Thanks for sharing.
it is great to deal with a company that inspires people to put their best foot forward. Several years ago I asked an elderly person if I could assist him with his purchases into his vehicle. he answered very gruffly “do I look like I need it?” I smiled and walked away and thought that maybe he thought I was going to rob him. anyway GOD doesn’t want sacrifices; GOD wants us to be kind, loving, and humble
I do these every day and I will go the extra mile to be polite. Just a smile or friendly hello to everyone, Makes their day a little brighter.
“Extra Mile” – We like what you did there! Have a great day!
My husband and I do kindnesses whenever possible in this current Covid distanced world. I paint rocks and place them everywhere I go. My husband is a super polite Canadian who always acknowledges workers and asks how their day is going. Most are surprised that they are asked.
I’m in I Love helping other people
I have been helping neighbors and friends. I was taught to always share a smile or kindness is contagious The more complaints you give the better you feel and the people around feels better about their selves.
When I’m in conversation with someone I TRY to listen more than I talk. Some folks are lonely and merely listening seems to ease their burden.
I already do 1, 2, 4, 7, 11, 13, 21, 22, 23, and 25. I’ll consider several of the others. Kindness goes a long way toward healing what’s out of kilter with this country. We must soon unite behind a common good because we’re all in this together. Greta Thunberg summed it up by saying “We may all be in the same storm but we’re not all in the same boat.”
Yay Denis! Greta is such an admirable person and so inspiring at such an early age. Good to see your mention of her here! Thanks!
I am so happy to read this suggestion to us. I regularly have done many of the things mentioned and plan to keep doing them and hope that more people will think about it. It honestly does more for me than the small gesture I have made to someone else. Thank you.
I love helping others,I got good from church and gave it to my neighbor,I alway show kindness to other.
Re: Random acts of kindness. I love this. I try to be a nice person every day. When I go thru a door I ALWAYS turn back to see if any one is coming so I can hold the door open. I know God made the world for all of us not just me. My philosophy is to get along with everybody. Why be a cranky person. Smile at everybody, let them know they are important. And be an honest person.
Purchased a small picture to encourage a friend of mine who does things for others constantly.
Talking to a te.acher friend of mine I told her what a wonderful teacher she was.
I love all these ideas. We have done a lot of them but will try to do at least one every day for the next 30 days.
Millions of thanks for the above. You are so right. Sadly, sometimes when you try to help someone, they start to think it is your duty and demand endless services. I experienced real Nasty person that was very rude and ugly even though I volunteered to help her.
On the Global plateau, I was very fortunate to work in the International Development Sector and Economic Growth for developing Countries (DC.) One of the Highlight of my Career was on my mission to Ukraine. The mission was to restructure Agro-Industry. Albeit, when I learned that the Prime Minister (PM), was visiting Liviv, I requested to meet with him. Although many jaws dropped, but my request, was honored. At the objection of my Translator, I demanded that all 2 000 engineers, technicians amd supportive staffs be paid in full for the last missing payments for six months. One of the best reward was One Ukrainian, commented that “you are an Angel, you have to come all the way from the USA so we get paid.” It is memorable and very rewarding in all aspects.
I do many of these things routinely and am happy to learn new ways I can bless other people’s lives. When COVID hit I decided to be extra generous with my tipping, something I intend to continue when we return to a new “normal.” How well I remember the days when every cent I earned from tips determined the security of my upcoming week.
I made a charitable contribution today. Tomorrow I will pick up trash around my apartment complex. As big as these trash cans are, some people can’t seem to get their trash INSIDE of it and just leave it on the ground. Grrrrr…….
Thanks for sharing 30-Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge. Very inspiring.
I do most of these challenges thru out my life, I was raised with these values, never forgot them.
If we could do this for 30 days, we could do these thru out our life to make this world a better place especially in these trying times.
Hi: I am so Happy I came across this, I love helping people but other then the complex
I live in I don’t know where too turn to.
I try to do this everyday but will pay extra attention for the next month
I hope I do nice things for others, but this is a great way to remember to do just that. I am anxious to get started today!
We like this, I never thought about asking someone else to do this!
I do most of these things on a daily basis already and will continue to do them of course, but there were some things on the list that I will be doing that I have not done before, like loving on an shelter animal. Something that would benefit both parties. I miss having a pet so much.
I fo all the things you have listed and more i enjoy doing it . Been doing so for over 50 years
I do the challenge daily as part of my life style. I put soft drinks in the lounge with a note, free to a good home. I purchased children’s masks and provided those who didn’t have one with them. I gave coworkers KN95 masks. Sometimes we forget our love ones when we are showing love and kindness. I sent my niece and my siblings a valentines card along with matching jackets. I established a Zoom meeting for every holiday so that we can visit virtually. I set up a prayer call where we meet weekly to pray for our nation, friends, family, and others. I adopted a stray dog. Before Covid I provided food to the elderly, giving dessert and meals on holidays. We have adopted cancer families for Christmas in lieu of buying gifts for ourselves. We provided haircuts to needed boys along with a backpack filled with supplies at the beginning of the school year. I purposely cleaned out my closet regularly choosing the good things to carry to the local storehouse for those in need. I pray and ask for guidance to help me be a blessing to someone. I gathered items and purchased items for victims of hurricane victims in my area. These are just a few things that we do. I will say that giving blesses you. The word of God tells us that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7
Excellent! Benedictions upon you! Fruits, I love fruits, and you are embodying those of the Spirit. May God be ever so gentle and merciful with you. Heartening to know you share the planet with me.
Thank you. We experience a much better world with random acts of kindness.
Donated to mother of 3 standing on sidewalk asking for help.
Hartford…great ideas…..Would you please tell us what Hartford is doing…Thanks
Phyllis – Thanks for reading. You can learn more about The Hartford’s Corporate Sustainability and Human Achievement Programs by visiting our website.
I belong toc2 groups that help spread kindness…Palm harbor rocks on facebook…members paint rocks and leave them for others to find at local parks or shops and, …routinely sending some to local hospitals and ore military over seas among other groups. The other facebook online group is titled Random Acts of Kindness and members paint or create some pins, magnets or gifts for others…some for random strangers and some for those in assisted living or nursing homes. Find these groups on facebook and join in…”no act of kindness is ever wasted.”
I have been doing this for years now! It is a humbling experience to extend a kind gesture to someone every.single.day…
Locally, perhaps in Idaho, one cannot donate food to a outlet that assists families that need help purchasing groceries. So sad but I see Idaho’s point, a maniac could contaminate the food he/she supposedly provides aid. Evil people in the world.
Today as day 1. Cooked and delivered a meal to a neighbor who is going through health issues. I actually did it before reading this email but since day is almost over I am counting it.
Marlena – It totally counts! Nice job!
I too do most of these things every day. And I will continue to do so.
I would also add sending a “Care Package” and/or gift card to someone affected by the recent snow storms across the country, especially to someone who lives in Texas!
I am a quilter and I have given away 12 quilts this year,
4 alphabet wall hangings to kids and the public library for the children’s area
8 lap robes to an assisted living center
40 table runners to thank the teachers & staff at the local elementary school.
16 table runners to the local clinic and health department.
I have 2 quilts almost done for the veterans home.
I have also given many rides to health appointments in the larger town 30 miles away
I will not be trying to do something for each of the next 30 days, as I continue to support others all the time. I am not sure what my next big project will be.
Wow Nancy! You’ve been busy spreading kindness!
WOW, Nancy! What great use of your time when we stay home so much and blessings for your generosity!
I love helping others, I live in a senior complex, I have a great amount of energy and Love to help others in need. I try to fill my days with Love for others.
I will enjoy this challenge. I try every day to be thoughtful others.
That’s great Dennis.
I just happened that I did one this afternoon. The last awful snow storm, my young neighbor came over and shoveled my car out. Wouldn’t take any money so I ordered him something that I can’t live without. A snow Joe snow broom. Took it over and just left it on their porch with a note. Shortly after they came to the door and they said you don’t know how much this means to us today. They were on their way to a funeral for a young 19 year old that was killed in a car crash. That said that it was really nice to know someone was so kind. Always pay it forward, no matter how great or small.
Seva – It’s so nice to hear about neighbors helping each other. Sounds like you put a smile on their faces during a very difficult time.
I routinely say something nice to or about clerks/cashiers when checking out: “pretty earrings”, “like your name”, and always “Thank you”. Now will add some of your good suggestions!
31. donate blood or better yet platelets. did you know the Red Cross tests for COVID-19 and antibodies?
Richard – great addition!
Have always practiced “random acts of kindness”. Giving or sharing unknown to the recipient. In silence. 😁
Pretty much belive I read it in the KJV Bible.
I do most of these things every day. And I will continue to do so.
I’m in for the 30 day challenge of kind acts…
Will do my best…I may miss a few days …but will ultimately make those up.
May end up taking 45 days total…in order to complete the original 30 days!!!
Great! Let us know how it goes.
Pocket your cell phone for a day. Look up and around letting your eyes engage with others as you have an opportunity to have a friendly in-person chat.