Do Kind Things, Be Happy. It’s Really That Simple.

This afternoon, a coworker handed me delicious persimmons from her mother’s backyard. This random act of kindness brightened my day and gave me a reason to write this post. Kindness is often overlooked in our busy lives. Our minds are constantly running at full speed on things we could do to make our lives better—get that new phone, buy that fancy dress, book that big trip. But while these acts bring us joy, being kind to others is equally, if not more, joyful.

The Dalai Lama said, “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” I am not just quoting this blindly, I’ve experienced it. Whether it’s being nice to a customer service rep, or sending a handwritten note to a friend, or cooking someone a healthy meal, I feel instantly better.

Unbeknownst to most of us, the World Kindness Day was celebrated on November 13. Kindness Day was created by a collection of humanitarian groups that came together on November 13, 1997. On this day (and everyday possible), people are encouraged to do a random act of kindness for others. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It could be as simple as holding the door for a stranger, complimenting a coworker, or carrying your neighbor’s groceries. It will bring a smile to them, and make you happier, too.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1) Send someone a letter in the mail. In these days of emails and Facebook updates, we forget how nice it is to just receive a letter in the mail.

2) Smile at strangers a minimum of five times a day. People like being acknowledged and a simple smile can do the trick.

3) Help someone carry their grocery bags or get on a bus on a wheelchair. If someone trips, lend a hand to pick them and their things up.

4) Give your time to babysit or pet sit. It will help them save money and you get to spend time with adorable kids and pets without the responsibility.

5) Give compliments to your friends or people at work generously. It doesn’t cost anything to say something nice to someone.

6) Offer to help a friend proofread his/her resume/cover letter/personal statement, etc.

7) When you have food left over from a restaurant dinner, and you know that it will just rot in the fridge, give the food to a homeless person instead. They will appreciate it a lot more than you do.

8) When you see a red flashing sign at a parking meter, put some coins in and the person will be so thankful for your generosity.

9) When you call up a cell phone company or credit card company, etc, always find out the name of the person on the other end and say, “How are you (insert name here)?” and this will instantly make you someone that they want to help and be nice to. Trust me, it always works for me.

10) Ask your coworker or friend whether they have had lunch/dinner yet, especially when you know they’ve been busy and forgotten to eat. You can also offer to bring them food.

11) Send a thank you note to someone who has helped you or influenced you in some way.

12) Give another driver your parking spot or let someone else get ahead of you in the grocery line or bank line. You may be losing a few mins, but you just made someone’s day.

13) Invite someone new over for dinner. Because it’s always nice to see their smiley face after a well-cooked meal.

14) Plant a tree or trees and give plants as gifts rather than flowers. You will be remembered for a long time.

15) Keep a look out for dogs chained in backyards or stray cats in the winter. Helping those who can’t help themselves makes all the positive difference in the world.

So go ahead and practice at least one random act of kindness today. And get happy! (Feel free to share in comment what kind deed you’ve done today.) 🙂

For more ideas, visit

Published by Lavanya

Lavanya Sunkara is a writer, animal lover, and globetrotter based in New York City. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest, Fodor’s, Forbes, USA Today and many more in a career spanning ten years. She covers travel, eco-lifestyle, culture, pets, and wildlife conservation.

2 thoughts on “Do Kind Things, Be Happy. It’s Really That Simple.

  1. I forget #5 all too easily, though I think of others’ gifts and talents often. It IS that simple, to say it out loud. Great post!

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