With so much negativity in the world, it's sometimes easy to forget that there are still genuine, kind people out there.
We can also forget that it's within our power to spread kindness too. A simple compliment or an offer to help someone with a heavy pushchair can help to make the world a kinder place.
There's plenty of research to show that being kind can be beneficial for our own mental health too. When we witness an act of kindness, our brains release oxytocin which is sometimes called the 'love hormone'.
Oxytocin lowers our blood pressure and helps our hearts to stay healthy.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology found that practicing kindness towards ourselves and kindness towards others had similar benefits for our wellbeing.
We've gathered together some random acts of kindness for you to try today, or you can check our our self care challenge with Suzy Reading to learn how to be kinder to yourself.
Give someone flowers or a plant
They don't need to be expensive or fancy, but it'll make someone smile. (Just check that they don't have hayfever first!). Tiny cacti and succulents make great gifts too.
Pay someone a genuine compliment
Make a point of paying a compliment to someone today. It costs nothing and could make their day.
Buy coffee for a stranger
Lots of coffee shops allow you to buy a 'suspended coffee' for someone who needs it, regardless of the reason. It can bring comfort to strangers when they're in need or feeling low. You can find participating cafes worldwide through the Suspended Coffees.
Send someone a care package
If you have a friend that's going through a hard time, put together a little care package for them filled with small treats – such as a book you've been meaning to lend them, a few sachets of their favourite tea or a packet of biscuits.
Write a thank you note
The simple act of writing a little note to thank someone for their help isn't just polite – it'll make the recipient feel appreciated too.
Send a postcard
Send a postcard to someone you haven't seen in a while and invite them for a catch up. Personalise it with your own doodles and drawings if you're feeling artistic.
Visit an elderly neighbour or relative
A recent study found that 75 percent of elderly people in the UK feel lonely. If you know you have an elderly neighbour, why not pop over and ask if they need anything from the shops or if they would like to join you for a cup of tea.
Welcome a friend home with groceries
If your friend has been away for a while, why not leave them some surprise groceries? No one wants to go to the shops after a long journey!
Offer to help someone with their bags
If you see someone struggling with their luggage at the station or to carry their shopping home, offer to give them a hand.
Make someone a home-cooked meal
Invite someone over for a homemade meal. It doesn't need to be a dinner party, just relaxed time with a friend or relative.
Support a crowd-sourced campaign
Let someone jump the queue
Offer to let someone go in front of you in the queue at a cafe or shop.
Hide a note in a book
Put a fun or uplifting message in a library book or in a bookshop. You'll never see their reaction, but you can imagine…
Pick up 5 pieces of litter on your way home
Every little helps, right?
Compliment good customer service
If someone's been really helpful, make a point of telling their manager so they get credit for their work.
Hold the door
If you see someone rushing behind you, hold the door for them or, if you're on a bus, ask the driver to wait for them.
Lend an umbrella
Keep a spare umbrella at work on in your car to lend to people who need it.
Drop off some essentials for the homeless
Visit your local homeless charity or shelter and leave some essentials – toothbrushes, toiletries and warm clothing are always welcome.
Share a book you love
Randomly leave a copy of a book your really love in a cafe or on public transport for a stranger to find.
Donate sanitary supplies
Life is tough enough for refugees without having to put up with a lack of pads or tampons. Charities such as Bloody Good Period allow you to donate money to buy sanitary supplies for women in need.
Compliment parents on how well-behaved their child is
Bonus points if the child is around at the time!
Be kind to yourself with our self care podcast with Suzy Reading
Photo by Jeremy Cai, Nathan Dumlao, Nick Karvounis, Janko Ferlič and Edu Lauton on Unsplash.