13 random acts of kindness for today and every day

Written by Eleanor Hoppe

Friday 13 November marks World Kindness Day, and whilst it’s always a good idea to act with kindness, this is a worldwide celebration of making positive connections. It's the perfect day to engage in compassionate gestures and spread positivity to those you encounter.

Remember, your words and actions have weight - use them to do good. In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

It’s a misconception to think that being kind to others without the expectation of getting something in return is a selfless act. In reality there’s science behind the benefits you feel when you’re kind, making you happier and healthier. Studies show that kindness can increase the production of serotonin in the brain, often called the feel-good chemical, and can decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress and increase your feelings of self-worth.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a handy guide with 13 ideas that we hope will help you get inspired on how to take part in Random Acts of Kindness Day and in turn show a lot of kindness to your own well-being: 

1. Have a judgement-free day 

When we encounter someone with different lived experience to us, it can be second nature to make assumptions about their situation and either write them off or make a comment. It might be that by judging someone we are inadvertently attempting to elevate our feelings of self-worth but we’re being detrimental to those that need our help. Remind yourself that everyone’s experience is unique and we are unable to truly know the lives others live. 

2. Thank someone 

Telling someone you’re grateful for being a listening ear, cooking you a meal or lending you their bike is bound to put a smile on their face. It shows you really care for their well-being and might be exactly what they need to hear to improve their self-worth. It’s great for their mental health and your own, as gratitude is proven to improve your mood. 

3. Ask someone in the older community about their past

Help members of the elderly community to combat loneliness by engaging with them and giving them the space to reminisce on their past. Ask them questions about their history and chances are they will be able to share skills and experience you could be in need of. Talking to people outside your own age range can help break down barriers and appreciate each other’s different interpretations or concerns of Britain today and our future in it.  

4. Volunteer your time to help 

Use your skills to help those in need and get back a hugely rewarding and useful experience in return. Charities are always in need of more assistance and there is a multitude of different roles to be filled. At Hestia, volunteering helps support adults and children in times of crisis across London. We post opportunities to get involved in a number of ways, from office support to teaching yoga.

By sharing your expertise, you’re able to gain work experience, expand your skill set and be part of something that’s extremely rewarding. Hestia even holds Volunteer Awards to show our gratitude to those that invest their time to help us. Quite literally rewarding! 

5. Donate your secondhand phone to a victim of modern slavery 

Many victims of modern slavery face extreme poverty and other barriers when living in the community. London can be a hard place to navigate as an outsider and victims are likely to need to get to important meetings to secure their status in the UK. They are likely to be lonely and want to call home and crucially need help translating and speaking the English language. If you have an old smartphone in working condition lying around, donating it to Hestia can dramatically improve someone’s life. 

6. Befriend someone 

Get to know someone better that you potentially work with or buy your coffee from. You are likely to have a lot in common with someone you live close to or work beside and could share similar interests. Just asking how someone is can dramatically improve their day and help form a stronger bond between you both.

Know that in return, you’re strengthening your communication skills that are so valuable to your personal and professional growth. Check our volunteering opportunities to become a fully-fledged befriender.

7. Send a friend a message 

Let someone know you’re thinking about them whether they’re going through a hard time or not. Reaching out just to say hi can improve someone’s mood and letting people know we’re here for them can elevate feelings of isolation and anxiety. 

8. Check on your 'strongest' friend 

It can often seem easy to tell if someone you love is suffering with low feelings of self-worth. Sometimes though, those who seem unfazed by adversity or joke about it might not ask for help but may still need it. No one is invincible and often times we might use humour as a defence mechanism to cover up our true emotions.

Let them know when they joke about their situation that you’re there for them. 

9. Give your old coat to charity 

Whilst our days are starting to get a bit longer, there’s still months to go before the UK will see warmer weather. Those experiencing homelessness, modern slavery, the elderly and those that are struggling financially are often left without the resources to keep warm. Donating a secondhand coat you no longer need can save someone’s life. 

10. Donate a buddy bag 

Buddy Bag Foundation is a foundation that provides ‘buddy bags’ to children entering emergency accommodation to restore a sense of safety and security to their lives. Hestia received hundreds of Buddy Bags to support children fleeing domestic abuse across London and the backpacks provided contains the essential items a child needs as well as comfort items like a teddy bear. By donating you’ll know your random act of kindness is helping restore normalcy to a young child. 

11. Really listen 

When you ask someone how they are, or even a more personal question, it really makes the difference to fully engage without distraction. Try to keep off your phone and be completely present when you’re having a conversation with them, it will help you connect fully and could really make the difference to them, as well as strengthening the bond between you. 

12. Ask your employer if you can become a Mental Health First Aider

Although it is not yet mandatory to have a mental health first aider in every office like it is to have someone who can perform first aid, it’s rapidly becoming seen as essential. The role of a Mental Health First Aider within the office space is to be the go-to person for anyone in distress, help guide them towards the relevant help they need and be able to tell when a colleague is developing a mental health issue.

Your company can send you on a short course to develop the skills needed to take on this role, help reduce the stigma around mental health and give you a greater understanding of the range of conditions 

13. Be kind to yourself 

Show yourself some compassion today whilst you’re busy doling out kindness to everyone you know and meet. It’s often so much easier to give someone a compliment or take care of their needs and lift their spirits than it is to be your own advocate. We all have our own inner critic that undermines our goals and achievements, that reminds us of our imperfections.

Perfection is unachievable and by focusing on it we lose sight of our successes. Today, tell yourself that you are enough and alloyourself to fully be imperfect. Recognise your achievements and stop comparing yourself to others. Offer yourself a compliment the way a friend would and fully receive it.

 Find out more about mental health support services

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