Even the smallest compassionate gestures can have significant impact. A kind act can do everything from make someone smile to turn their day around to instill a sincere sense of hope—an emotion they might not have felt in a very long time.
Plus, kindness often has a domino effect: When people see you performing compassionate acts, they feel inspired to be kind, too. And in today’s fast-paced, go, go, go society, this is powerful. It is precious, and it is needed.
Below you’ll find a range of sweet, compassionate deeds for supporting someone and making their day from the thoughtful, suggestion-packed book Simple Acts of Kindness: 500+ Ways to Make a Difference.
- Drive an elderly neighbor to their doctor’s appointment.
- Write a thank-you note to a coworker the next time they help you with a project or problem.
- Do laundry for a new mom—and cook her a meal before you go. (Of course, you can do this for any loved one who seems overwhelmed.)
- Teach a budding artist a new craft. Teach them how to knit a sweater or sew a quilt or make a birdhouse or add mosaic to a ceramic picture.
- Make a cup of tea or coffee or hot chocolate for the mailperson when it’s cold or snowy out.
- Find different ways to support our troops at Soldiers’Angels.org—such as sending cards and care packages.
- Make a donation to a loved one’s favorite charity in their name.
- Share an inspiring quote with your family. Jot it down on a piece of paper, and put it on the fridge or slip it into a person’s bag or pocket.
- Install a window box for a neighbor.
- Mail a postcard to a child in your life. Next time you’re traveling, write a simple message about where you’re visiting. Include drawings and stickers, too.
- Record audiobooks or magazines for the visually impaired. You can learn more at LearningAlly.org.
- Visit your local children’s shelter, and find out what they need. Then give what you can.
- Crochet blankets (or give away extra blankets from home or buy new ones), and bring them to a nursing home.
- Be a generous listener. Be curious, and ask others questions about themselves. Resist the urge to make the conversation about you. Empathize.
- Donate a first-aid kit and unused health and beauty items to a women’s shelter.
- Stock a loved one’s pantry after they’ve bought their first home.
- Make chicken soup for someone who’s sick (or make their favorite meal, or do something else to make their day easier or sweeter).
- Offer to unload a neighbor’s car, and bring their items inside.
- Give up your seat on the bus (or train or at the doctors’ office).
- Save a quarter a day for a hunger fund. Once your quarters pile up, go to the bank and write a check. Learn more about donating to hunger organizations at Bread.org.
Make your own list of sweet acts, ranging in size and effort. Some acts might be quick and small. Others might be more elaborate and time-consuming. Have fun with it. Get creative. Think about how you can use your strengths, skills and passions to spread kindness. Then perform one act a day or week.
If you have kids or nieces and nephews or young cousins, ask them for suggestions, too. And be sure to perform these acts together. It’s a beautiful way to connect—and to show younger generations the importance and magic of compassion.
Make time for kind, loving, good deeds in your life. In fact, try to let kindness pervade everything you do.