Random Acts of Kindness Day 2021
Wednesday, February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day! I encourage you to set the intention to doing a kind act for another person, be it someone you know or a complete stranger, or even a kind act for yourself.
According to the scientists at Cedar Sinai, random acts of kindness release dopamine, boosts oxycontin and can also increase levels of serotonin in the body. All of this results in what we call the "helper's high." So not only will this kind act help others, but it'll boost your mood too!
A personal anecdote: I have been purging my books at home to make room for more toddler titles on my book shelves. Since I live on a street with lots of sidewalk traffic, I chose to lay the purged books on my driveway and let passersby take what they want. It was very interesting to see people from all walks of life happily pick up a book and walk home with a smile on their face.
As if that wasn't reward enough, I came home the other day to a handwritten thank you note in my mailbox from a person who had taken a book. Even more incredibly, they put a $20 bill in the card as a "donation towards me purchasing a new book!" I was floored by this very unexpected gesture. Of course I had to oblige and promptly went to my local bookshop, Queen Books, to support a local, small business. So many levels of kindness it really knocked me out and made me feel so happy!
Since 2015 I have set a recurring calendar reminder in my phone for Random Acts of Kindness Day so I am sure to to do something nice for someone else. I hope you will do the same! I'll admit that I tend to rely on monetary acts of kindness, paying for someone's beer or coffee (and asking the server not to tell the person it was me who paid for it), bringing flowers to the workplace to brighten up people's day, sending a goofy card to a friend overseas. That said there are a whole bunch of things you can do that are totally free of charge but charged with kindness.
Here are some suggestions from Random Acts of Kindness Foundation:
- Compliment drivers on how well they parked (except if it's my husband, he already takes way too much pride in his parking...)
- Go to your favourite spot and make time for yourself today (kindness to yourself counts too)
- Write a positive comment on a social media post or blog (you can start with this one! It's safe to do while maintaining physical distancing)
- Wheel your neighbour's trash bin to the curb
- Write a hand written letter to someone (your local librarian would love one)
- Clean your room
- Text someone good morning or good night (I'd add a GIF for liveliness)
- Be spontaneous!
Be sure to be safe when practicing kindness on February 17 and follow the current Provincial and City guidelines!
In addition to these ideas, the random acts of kindness website has a wonderful printable calendar that offers tips for acts of kindness every day of the year.
I also want to recommend these books and ebooks on kindness that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.
"In the smallest of actions, the most undervalued of professions provides the most vital care and kindness. All of us will touch illness in our lifetime, and we will all depend upon the support and dignity that nurses offer us in our most vulnerable moments; yet these women and men who form the vanguard of our health service remain largely behind the scenes and publicly unsung. Through the stories in this book comes an understanding of what we must value most dearly – the urgency of care and compassion."
"The beloved creator of Blues Clues and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and protégé of Fred Rogers explores the importance of kindness and how it can change your life in this essential guide and tie-in to the PBS special, "The Power of Radical Kindness.""
"Psychologist Tara Cousineau draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to show how compassion and empathy are hardwired into our DNA and essential to our survival. This book teaches effective skills in compassion, mindfulness, and social and emotional learning, and reveals successful social policy initiatives in empathy taking place that inform everything from family life to education to the workplace."
"More than simply thought-provoking, this book challenges and inspires the reader to effect change through kindness. In warm and engaging prose, the book explains true kindness as opposed to mere niceness and explores its power and benefits. It motivates individuals to exhibit and practice kindness, describing in clear and simple terms ways to integrate kindness as the response of choice. Included are techniques for developing the ability to empathize with others and strategies for being kind to oneself."
Children's Recommendations on Kindness
If you're looking for children's resources, I have personally read/watched these titles with my little guy and got many squeals of approval (and one "oh no!").
I think we can all agree that Mister Rogers is basically kindness incarnate. I am completely and utterly obsessed with this man and his lessons in kindness are, in my opinion, unparalleled. Please enjoy this amazing DVD collection and promptly go and place holds on some of my other Fred favourites.
"A collection of quotes by famous notables, including Henry James, Booker T. Washington, and Judy Blume, echoes Pete the Cat's thoughts on kindness."
"An elementary school girl witnesses the bullying of another girl, but she is not sure how to help."
"A diverse cast of children shows everyday acts of kindness and generosity through thoughtful and vibrant illustrations. Whether it be donating blankets to the animal shelter, helping with chores, or standing up for what's right, this is the perfect book to spark conversations at home or in the classroom about the concepts of empathy and compassion. Featuring durable cardstock pages and approachable language, this book will encourage children to be their best selves wherever they go."
"Illustrations and rhyming text describe acts of kindness and community."
Please feel free to comment below with any acts you have done yourself or times you witnessed acts of kindness in your community!