Next Monday, February 13, marks the start of an unofficial holiday I recently learned about, and can’t wait to celebrate – it’s “Random Acts of Kindness Week.” Based off of “Random Acts of Kindness Day,” which is celebrated here in the US on February 17th, Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week’s purpose is to inspire people to practice kindness and pass it onto others.
Simple concept, right? Sometimes we forget that the simplest, most random acts of kindness can bring the most joy to others- and, for the giver, a deep sense of purpose and happiness. Based on research (yes, kindness has been extensively researched), practicing RAK can help promote happiness. For example, the Human Thriving Foundation, through its “Happiness 360 study” found that there are 13 human behaviors that, when practiced together, can predict happiness in an individual at over a 92% probability.
13 Behaviors that Predict Happiness
Don’t worry, I’m going to list those behaviors now …. And you’ll see, they are also easy to get started on if you find you need to brush up on a few:
- Social Support Groups (do you have a strong network of friends that you can talk to, share with, and rely on?)
- Work-life balance
- Volunteerism (make it a cause that you love!)
- Spirituality (that means different things to different people, it doesn’t necessarily mean God or religion)
- Leisure time (something other than watching tv!)
- Exercise (a minimum of 30 minutes 5 times a week is preferable, but smaller amounts work too!)
- Preventative health (schedule yearly check-ups and tests)
- Random Acts of Kindness
Cool. So what are RAKs? How do you start?
It’s simple! Here are a few things you can do, and please, feel free to visit the official Random Acts of Kindness site for tons of information and other cool research studies!
In your workplace:
- Set up free coffee, tea or hot chocolate during the week or on the 17th for your employees or coworkers;
- Send a floral arrangement to a nearby senior center, nursing home, police station, hospital, etc, with a small note of thanks;
- Organize a blood drive and dedicate it to Random Acts of Kindness;
- Donate a percentage of your revenue for one day to a group in need;
- Collect canned goods or household supplies throughout RAK week (or anytime throughout the year) for a food bank or homeless shelter;
- if you are a retail establishment, give away the first $10 of purchases on a given day to your customers.
In your community:
- Prepare treats (or maybe a coffee shop gift card) for neighbors, emergency workers, mail carriers, coworkers, military personnel or other community members with a note of appreciation.
- Call an animal shelter and find out what items they need (I’ll be doing this over the weekend)
- If you got a gift card over the holidays that you can’t use, give it to a family or organization in need.
- Help a neighbor with snow removal, raking leaves, cutting the lawn, etc. While helping an elderly neighbor might be something you already do, is there a single-parent home, or someone with a disability that you can help out as well?
- In the drive-through at Dunkin’ Donuts? Pay for a coffee for the person behind you.
- Obeying traffic rules and when safe, when you are in the car, stop and let that person trying to make a left onto a busy street go ahead of you. (we’ve all been there, especially if you live in New Jersey!)
- Offer a couple of hours of free babysitting to parents.
- Donate used books to a library, community center or shelter (call first to make sure they can use them.)
- Give care-packs to the homeless – include items that we use every day but probably take for granted- like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and deodorant.
I could go on forever- but you get the idea. When you start looking, you will see opportunities to practice Random Acts of Kindness all around you. Even a friendly hello or a sincere compliment counts!
I hope you’ll take this opportunity to boost your mood (and Karma) next week and throughout the year.
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