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Practice Kindness, Change Your World

Yobo   
February 15th, 2012



Credit: SweetOnVeg/Creative Commons

By Mercedes Mehling

“Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.”
– Annie Lennox

This week, February 13th through the 19th, has been declared Random Acts of Kindness Week by (who else) the Random Act of Kindness Foundation. RAK is the U.S. delegate of the World Kindness Movement and provides kindness ideas, lesson plans, quotes, videos and other resources to those who wish to spread kindness in their daily lives. The organization’s mission is to inspire people to practice kindness and to motivate others to do the same:

“As people from different cultures and from all walks of life join to spread kindness, they are creating a powerful, synergistic action throughout the world.”

The nice thing about kindness is that it has no minimum or maximum. While some acts of kindness may change a person’s life, even a very small amount can change someone’s day for the better. If you want to participate but aren’t quite sure how to go about it, here are some tips and ideas for engaging in some RAKs of your own.

  • Volunteer – go to your local animal shelter, survival center, or nursing home and offer up some of your time, even if just for a few hours.
  • Hold the door open for someone – This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you hold the door for one person, they might do the same for someone else and so on and without even realizing it you just created a mini-chain of kindness between strangers.
  • Leave some extra change in the vending machine or parking meter – even the smallest amount of money can be exciting when it’s free.
  • Return your shopping cart – not only is this a good habit to have in general, but doing it can make someone’s job a little bit easier.
  • Write a letter to an old teacher or someone who’s influenced you – One of the most rewarding gifts someone can receive is the knowledge that they influenced another person in some way. Let that person know how you’re doing, and ask how they’re doing while you’re at it.
  • Donate blood – It’s not always the most comfortable experience, but it can certainly feel rewarding and there is always a need for donations.
  • Compliment a stranger – a compliment from a friend is nice, but friends are supposed to compliment each other. When it comes from a stranger you know it’s genuine.
  • Leave positive notes in public places – They could be compliments, inspirational quotes, jokes, or just about anything to make someone smile.
  • Give someone a ride – this one is kind to other people and to the environment as well.
  • Say “thank you” – to your friend, to a cashier, to your parents, to anyone.
  • And finally, “pay it forward” – if someone does something kind for you, do something kind for someone else. Simple!

These are just a few things you can do to spread kindness within communities both large and small and the possibilities are endless. Although the official RAK week ends on Sunday, there’s no reason to stop there. One random act of kindness might not change the world, but practicing kindness every day can change your life, and make someone else’s a little better in the process.

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