I’ve talked a lot about how doing a kind act, or even witnessing one, boosts your serotonin uptake. Isn’t that just the coolest thing? When you do something nice for someone, the chemical effect on your system is just like taking an anti-depressant.
I truly love that! It makes me happy.
Whether you’re performing random acts of kindness or planned ones for folks you know, the effect is the same. So here’s a list to get me started. Oh, and you!
- Smile at someone. Talk about simple! But the very act of smiling lifts the other person’s mood (and yours too). I’ve heard countless stories of people being depressed to the point of suicide, and some stranger’s smile got them through the day.
- Give a compliment. And not a fake one. It may be easy to see the old frumpy lady behind you in the checkout line and wonder why the heck she left home looking like that. But that thought will cause you to miss the vibrancy of her clear blue eyes. Tell her about those.
- Pay it forward. This has become a trend! And for good reason—it makes everyone involved feel that serotonin surge. I just had a dear writer friend who’s 84 tell me she was in the grocery checkout, purchases all bagged, when she realized she’d left her wallet at home. The clerk said they couldn’t hold the bags until she got back to pay. And then the young man behind her said he’d pay the tab! She was shocked and blessed, and her faith in the young men of this world restored. Of course, she did send him a check when she got home, and also a copy of her newest book J
- Put someone’s groceries in her car. Again, this doesn’t seem like much, but another good friend of mine had to ride in the scooter at the store. And when she got to her car, she realized she was a bit stumped as to how to load her groceries in! When up walks a nice young woman and offers to do it for her. Again, a simple thing. But it made my friend’s week.
- Let that frazzled mom with the toddler and baby go ahead of you. You know, so often we judge that mom. My ex-husband used to rail against such (there’s a reason he’s an ex). But often young mothers don’t have a lot of choice when they run out of formula or diapers but to load everybody up and go get some. She shouldn’t have run out of supplies, some might say. Usually those “some” are men who haven’t been in that situation! LOL. But the very act of letting her go ahead and get out of there faster will make her, you, and the clerk feel better. For practical reasons, but for oh-so-much more than that . . .
- Find a reason to open the door for someone. I often do this when going in the post office. My county is filled with older folks, and I’m always so cognizant of their dignity. But I’ll often open the door and say, “You’ve got your hands full!” The gratitude in old eyes always makes my day.
- Walk the infirm or absent neighbor’s dog. I mean heck, you’re walking anyway, no? That neighbor loves her dog and for whatever reason, can’t walk it right now. Besides, you get dog licks to boot. Which we know lowers blood pressure and . . .
- Text your friends a video of your 4-week-old Labrador puppies. Okay, yes, I admit, this is unique to me! But boy, did I make a lot of folks smile and laugh. A dear friend whose sister is suffering from major depression texted me back to say her sister got the biggest kick out of it. Now, did that make me smile or what? So, if you don’t have adorable 4-week-old Labrador puppies to video (so sad for you!), video something else with a funny twist. The cat knocking over the jar, fifteen times in a row. Etc. There’s gotta be something in your world that’ll make folks laugh!
- Text someone that you’re thinking of him, and give a virtual hug. We hear so much about how the virtual world has taken over what used to be physical connection, and while that’s true, it also helps us to keep in touch with folks near and far. When I’m going through a particularly rough spot, a text from a friend just saying she’s thinking of me, is sending that virtual hug, warms my heart.
- Call someone who’s down or in pain. If you can do it right now, great. But if not, look at your today and see where you can carve out the time. Mainly, to listen . . .
- Acknowledge someone for a great or nice thing he did, which might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Recently, a good friend and her dad were at a big event, and feeing somewhat as outsiders. Another couple of my friends asked them to supper that night. Man, did that have a huge impact on how they felt! So I sent a message later to the friend who did the inviting, telling her how it made their entire event, and how grateful I was to her. And that made her day! Love how the cycle continues . . .
- Give a nice response to someone’s social-media post. I mean, doesn’t it make you smile when someone does that on yours? What we know from the Fowler/ Christakis study is that being happy causes others in our social networks to be happy. And you can do that in a flash!
- Share someone’s blog. If you read blogs and like them, it’s easy to share. And it makes the blogger think she’s actually being read 🙂 Which does so much to warm her heart!
But the point of course is, it’s easy to do kind things, and we really are all in this together.
What are your random acts of kindness ideas?