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Acts of Kindness on Valentine’s Day

There’s nothing wrong with long-stemmed roses and chocolates, but what if this Valentine’s Day you share the love in a different way? Let’s share with the world something that will really makes a difference, let’s spread some random acts of kindness.
Why random acts of kindness, you ask? The thing about kindness is that it’s scientifically proven to be good for the giver as well as the receiver. Studies shown that giving, caring and being kind can boost your life satisfactionmake you less anxious, and can even help you live longer. Who would say no that?

7 Ideas for Simple Acts of Kindness

It’s time to brighten someones February. Let’s give these a try.

1. Anonymously help a stranger

Spread the kindness by “paying it forward.” Instead of paying someone back, let’s pay some kindness forward. Change the course of someone’s day without them even knowing it. Here’s some few ideas. Not sure where to start? Here are some examples of random acts of kindness you can try:

  • Feed a few coins into someone’s parking meter
  • Pay the toll of the driver behind you at the toll booth (…if toll booths are still a thing where you live)
  • Pay for the coffee of the person in line behind you
  • Leave some change at the laundromat
  • Wash a stranger’s windshield at the gas station
  • Clear off the car next to yours when it snows
  • Leave your newspaper or magazine on the train or bus so someone else can read it after you
  • Write positive, encouraging notes and slip them inside library books for strangers to find

2. Take someone out for coffee

Thirty minutes of your time and few dollars could totally make someone’s day. There’s something huge about human interaction. And while spending an extra five bucks on your card for a friend is nice, actually taking the time to sit down with them is even better.
In a 2013 study, researchers gave $10 Starbucks gift cards to a group of (lucky) participants. The people who used their gift card on others reported feeling happier than if they spent it on themselves. The catch? Those heights of happiness only happened if they went to Starbucks with that person.
According to the researchers,
…individuals garner more happiness from prosocial spending when giving provides the opportunity to connect with other people.”
Coffee date, anyone?

3. Forgive (and forget) a debt

One surprisingly simple act of kindness? The act of letting something go. And there are real reasons this works. Research shows that forgiving comes with a side of health benefits that affect everything from your brain (e.g., less stress and lower levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues) to your body (e.g., lower blood pressure and reduced mortality rate).
To reap the stress-busting benefits, give up one of your grievances. Forgive someone of a debt they owe you. You’ll be releasing both of you from a burden. And quite possibly improving your health too. No downsides here.

4. Volunteer

You don’t have to look far to find dozens of places that need help. Animal shelters. Soup kitchens. Therapeutic riding centers. Charity stores. Donating just a few hours of your time a week can make a huge difference to the work they do.
Volunteering is good for your health. Science backs that up. Here’s one example: “People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44 percent lower likelihood of dying early,” says Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simpler Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents.
Not sure what’s available in your area? A quick google search could be your answer.

5. Take the time to send positive feedback

Next time a customer service person does a great job of helping you out, ask them their name. Why? So you can do them a random act of kindness. Take the time to send positive feedback telling their company or boss that they made you one happy customer. Sometimes kindness is as simple as giving people the thanks and recognition that they deserve.
And you know what else? There’s a ripple effect for the win here. Your positive feedback will act as reinforcement, making the staff member more likely to continue being helpful to future customers.

6. Give someone the gift of time

We’re all busy. We have jobs to do and mouths to feed and things to buy. But that’s why the gift of time is so precious. Maybe you can look after your friends kids for a few hours so they can have some time to themselves. Or let your spouse off the hook when it comes to their household chores for the week because you know they’re busy with work. Or you could cook your elderly neighbor a meal, just so they can rest for the night.
Another idea? Simply take the time to spend time with the people you love. Research shows that prioritizing quality relationships has big effects on your happiness. So give some hours to let others take a break…or spend those hours with them for double benefits.

7. Listen better

The best simple acts of kindness don’t require a big sacrifice of time or money. Sometimes the most simple things is the best, listening.
Reach out to friends or family. Let them know you’re thinking of them. Send them a message, call them, or drop by and ask them how they are. And when they reply, really listen. Show them that you genuinely care.
Listening is a surprisingly difficult skill to master.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives. In the age of social media, we can get lost in the illusion of connectedness. But the truth is, we are not really connected as much as we thing we thing we are. While the heart shaped boxes are a sweet gesture, your time spent doing random acts of kindness might just go further than you’d imaging this Valentine’s season.