Thursday, 24 February 2011


Perform an extra act of kindness today… 

Have you ever had a door shut in your face, or waited at a junction for ages while car after car after lorry after car passes you by and doesn’t let you out?  If you’re anything like me something small like this can really irritate you and set you up badly for the day.  

On the other hand, has a complete stranger ever done a random act of kindess that left you with a smile on your face?

Well, spread a little happiness each and every day.  How about making someone a cuppa while you’re getting one for yourself?  Or share your table in a busy pub or café.  And it’s not just for strangers and colleagues.  What about your partner and family who we often take for granted?  When was the last time you asked them how their day was - and really listened?  Or surprised them with flowers – not just on Valentine’s Day or a birthday, but just “because”?  Or made them breakfast in bed (my idea of hell, of course.  Imagine the crumbs everywhere!!!)

Even a genuine “thank you” and a smile when someone holds a door for you, or pauses on a stairwell to let you pass can make all the difference to someone’s day.

Action for Happiness recently published “The Happiness Challenge workbook” which included some helpful suggestions:

1.    Give up your seat
2.    Hold a door open for someone
3.    Give a (sincere) compliment
4.    Make someone laugh
5.    Give someone a hug
6.    Take time to really listen to someone
7.    Make someone new feel welcome
8.    Let one car in on every journey
9.    Give directions to someone who's lost
10. Have a conversation with a stranger
11. Pick up litter as you walk
12. Let someone in front of you in the supermarket queue
13. Tell someone they mean a lot to you
14. Let someone have your parking spot
15. Read a story with a child
16. Offer your change to someone struggling to find the right amount
17. Treat a loved one to breakfast in bed
18. Buy cakes or fruit for your colleagues
19. Invite your neighbour round for a drink and a chat
20. Offer to help with someone's shopping
21. Tell someone if you notice they're doing a good job
22. Pass on a book you've enjoyed
23. Say sorry (you know who to)
24. Forgive someone for what they've done
25. Visit a sick friend, relative or neighbour
26. Buy an unexpected gift for someone
27. Bake something for a neighbour
28. Pay for someone in the queue behind
29. Do a chore that you don't normally do
30. Help out someone in need
31. Offer to look after a friend's children
32. Offer to mow your neighbour’s lawn
33. Donate your old things to charity
34. Give food to a homeless person and take time to talk with them
35. Visit someone who may be lonely
36. Give blood
37. Get back in contact with someone you've lost touch with
38. Organise a fundraising event
39. Volunteer your time for a charity
40. Plan a street party

As with Christmas presents, it’s better to give these acts than receive.  So, do it sincerely and without expecting anything in return. 

What will your extra act of kindness be today?  It’ll make a bigger difference than you might think….

* Thanks to Niall Bailey for this guest blogpost.

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