6 Ways to Improve the Lives of Others Starting Today

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Take your next random act of kindness to the next level and try one of these tips to pay it forward. Perform one of these (or countless others!) tips for kindness and share with us! Become a part of the #kindnessmovement

Think back to the last time you gave or received an act of kindness. Perhaps someone paid for your coffee, or even just opened the door for you. It gave you a feeling of warmth and happiness, didn’t it? And, chances are, it probably inspired you to do more kind things. According to the Mayo Clinic, giving or receiving compassion can have a profound impact on a person’s life. Being kind to others has been proven to reduce stress, enhance spiritual well being, and even inspire healthier lifestyle choices.

Most people are familiar with the more well known types of random acts of kindness, such as paying for the person behind you at the drive-thru, or paying for a stranger’s groceries if they come up short at the check-out line. Here’s a roundup of kind deeds that aren’t as widely known, but still make a difference. Some of these are simple and require only a small amount of effort, while others are more involved. Here are six ways you can improve the lives of others starting right this minute! 

Buy someone a treat. The next time you’re at the office vending machine, tape a dollar to the machine for the next person. Or, if you know a coworker is having a rough day, leave a treat on their desk along with a short note stating one or two things you love about working with that coworker. 

Amazon. More and more people are ordering items from Amazon. The online retailer has two great ways to show kindness. The first one is through Amazon Smile. If you go to www.smile.amazon.com instead of just amazon.com, you will be able to pick a charity or non-profit. Once you’ve chosen one, they will receive a percentage of every item you order. The more you spend, the more that charity will receive. Secondly, Amazon encourages people to donate items by reusing the cardboard boxes that their orders come in. Once an order is received, Amazon customers can log onto their website and have a free shipping label printed out. Then, they fill the box with items to donate and take it to the post office or UPS. Amazon will pay for the items to be shipped to the nearest Goodwill location. Other companies such as REI, Ann Taylor, Overstock, and Uncommon Goods will also pay for shipping when their boxes are reused. 

Free art. This one is mostly for the creative types and is incredibly simple. Leave one of your pieces in a public place for a stranger to find, whether it’s a painting, a photograph, or a written poem. Make sure it is labeled as free art, so people know they can take it. As a bonus, write them a note with some encouraging words that relate to the artwork. 

Leave someone a book. We all have read books that have somehow improved our lives. Why not pass that onto someone else? Simply leave a copy of one of your favorites in a public place, with a note saying it is free for the taking. Or, go a step further and set up your own little free library 

Send cards to hospitalized kids. Being in the hospital is difficult for anyone, but it is especially difficult for children. A hospital can be a scary and lonely place for a child, so cards can really lift their spirits. If you don’t know how to get started, call your local children’s hospital or visit websites such as www.cardsforhospitalizedkids.com. 

Send cards to families. When a child is in the hospital, all of the attention is on them. This means their siblings can be left feeling lonely or forgotten about. One organization, called Send Kids the World (http://www.sendkidstheworld.com ) allows people to send postcards to family members as well as sick children.

There are many different ways to spread kindness. Being kind doesn’t take a lot of effort or money. It just takes heart. And we could all use more heart in our everyday.