Feeling Great

The Kindness Connection

Want to boost somebody’s spirits – and your own? Do something nice for someone. Here are 20 random acts of kindness to try today

That warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you do something nice for someone isn’t just in your head. A growing body of research suggests that regular, random acts of kindness can boost your mood and improve your overall well-being.

A recent study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reinforces the connection between kindness and health. According to Dr. Waguih William IsHak, a psychiatry professor at Cedars-Sinai, when you practice even a small, simple act of kindness toward others, your body releases two feel-good substances. Oxytocin (a.k.a. “the love hormone”) and dopamine (a chemical messenger to the brain that gives us a feeling of euphoria) both modify brain chemistry to help lower blood pressure, relieve stress and contribute to overall feelings of happiness.

“There’s no doubt that a simple, kind gesture can reward our minds and bodies,” Dr. IsHak says. The key, he says, is to practice it regularly for the effect to last.

A simple act of kindness may make you feel good for several minutes, or even an hour, “but such acts have to be repeated regularly for them to have a lasting effect,” IsHak says.

With that in mind, here are 20 random acts of kindness to incorporate into your routine. Performing these actions on a regular basis will not only make you feel great, but they might
make someone’s day.

  • Bring your neighbor’s garbage cans inside for them
  • Hold the elevator for someone
  • Offer to babysit a friend’s kids for free
  • Buy flowers for an elderly neighbor
  • Ask an older relative to tell you a story
  • Help an overburdened mom load her groceries into the car
  • Write a kind note and slip it into a family member’s lunch bag
  • Say “thank you” when you encounter service members
  • Tell a coworker what a great job they’re doing
  • Offer to give new neighbors a tour of the area
  • Buy school supplies for a teacher
  • Compliment someone on their outfit
  • Return someone’s cart at the grocery store
  • Shout out a friend’s accomplishments on social media
  • Leave money on the vending machine for the next customer
  • Smile at everyone you see while running errands.
  • It’s contagious!
  • Give a spontaneous hug to a family member or friend
  • Plant wildflowers
  • Pick up trash at your local park or beach