The world could use a lot more kindness right about now, don’t you think? That’s why we got psychologists to share the most impactful—yet still simple—ways you can make others feel loved, cherished, and appreciated.
Why kindness benefits everyone
Stepping in for a stranger, a best friend, or a coworker in their time of need may be a no-brainer for you, but it doesn’t only benefit them; it can do wonders for you and for the universe. “It feels good to do something nice for someone. It boosts your self-esteem, it makes you feel like a better person, and it can help you overcome any negative feelings you are experiencing in the moment,” says licensed clinical psychologist, Sarah Schewitz, PsyD. “If you’re feeling down, a surefire way to feel better immediately is to go do something nice and unexpected for someone else.” Psychologist, author, and relationship expert, Dawn Michael, PhD, adds: “When you are kind, that energy goes a long way, as the person you were kind to will feel better about themselves and perhaps do something kind for another person. I see kindness as a positive energy that, when passed on down the line, creates more positive energy in the world.” Here are some ways to be a force of good in the world today. Don’t miss these 21 real stories of life-changing acts of kindness.
For your significant other
While you might be the first to send a funny meme or listen patiently when your bestie needs to vent, or you’re always on call for a coworker working on a stressful project, you might not think of your significant other as someone who needs a random act of kindness. Dr. Michael says that simply acknowledging the benefit your partner adds to your life is an easy way to bring thoughtfulness into your relationship. “It can be a simple thank you to ‘I really appreciate you when you do…’, she explains. “Letting the person you love know that you notice them is a positive act of kindness.” Does your partner really hate doing laundry, but does it to make sure your household is running smoothly? Or would they rather do anything but yard work? These are opportunities to be thoughtful in your couplehood. As psychologist Nikki Martinez, PsyD, LCPC, advises, “Do a chore that your partner hates without being asked to do so, and without the thought of being thanked for doing so. Do it simply because you know your partner hates it, and that doing it will be a welcome surprise.” Don’t forget these random acts of kindness you can do every month of the year!
For your circle of friends
Friendship is always a give and take—the trick is to know when to give. While you might be raking in extra cash one month, your treasured friend might be struggling to make ends meet. Or, while you’re in a stable relationship, your friend may have been dumped—again. Martinez says stepping up when it’s your turn to help out a pal is an act of kindness they’ll likely never forget. “Send someone going through a tough time flowers,” she suggests. “Drop them a note and let them know you are thinking of them and what you appreciate about them. While small, these meaningful gestures will surely be appreciated by the recipient.” Or, if you’re financially able, psychologist Yvonne Thomas says to pick up a tab when times are tough for your friend, or volunteer to help them out when they’re overwhelmed or need encouragement. “Paying for your friend’s meal if he or he is struggling with money, becoming your friend’s exercise buddy to help him or her lose weight, staying up late to talk to a friend in distress, babysitting for your friend so he or she can go out, complimenting your friend, etc., are all ways to show meaningful kindness. These actions can be impactful because they can strengthen the bonds of your friendships and make your friends feel truly cared for. Check out these 24 little things you can do to be a true friend.