Celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Day: February 17th

Honestly, I can’t count the reasons why I love my sister as much as I do. But, I can zero in on one: her kindness. As a medical social worker, her kindness touches patients, their families and those who care for them while navigating the complexities of the healthcare system. My sister’s kindness isn’t something she turns on when she pulls into work and puts the brakes on when she leaves. Instead, it is integral to who she is. On our recent sisters’ weekend in Connecticut, she shared that she was planning to bake a cake for the staff at her hair salon to commemorate her 10th anniversary as a customer. Wait…she’s baking for them? Who does that? It’s kindness, pure and simple, bringing to mind the wise words of Kirpal Singh: “Kind hearts are the gardens. Kind thoughts are the roots. Kind words are the blossoms. Kind deeds are the fruits.”  

If a kind heart is the garden, how do we cultivate it so that it bears the fruits of kindness? By adopting the characteristics of kind people, by being:


a good listener


generous with what we have 





caring and nurturing

And by:

canceling our judgmental thoughts

being mindful of our words

being intentionally kind with our deeds

How would we be different, “better,” if we did so? The American Psychiatric Association notes that kindness can increase happiness and self-esteem, while decreasing stress and emotional reactivity. And yet, we tend to limit our acts of kindness because we underestimate their value. On the receiving end, people see greater value in the warmth of the gesture and the positive social interaction that we, the givers, do. And, one more thing – you may have observed that kindness can be contagious. People who receive acts of kindness are likely to be more generous themselves. That makes sense because helping others and being kind are proven to reduce stress, improve our emotional well-being and even benefit our physical health. Another way to say it? Doing good does you good. It feels good to be kind!

Here are some simple, thoughtful ways that you can share the fruits of kindness:

Reach out: 

Call, send flowers, mail a handwritten note or inspirational quote.

Contact someone you haven’t seen in a while and arrange to meet face to face.

Send an interesting article to a friend.

Invite neighbors in for a casual get together.

Engage in conversation with a clerk or receptionist.

Volunteer in your community.

Reach out to spend time with someone who is experiencing loneliness.

Get to know your new coworker.

Listen to that coworker who is having a bad day.

For heaven’s sake, say good morning!

Smile, wave or say hello to people you pass every day.

Encourage someone:

Tell them why you are proud of them.

Support them in getting active.

Offer help:

Run an errand for a neighbor.

Walk your friend’s dog.

Express appreciation:

Tell friends and family members how much you love and appreciate them.

Give praise to your colleague for something they’ve done well.

Offer support:

Make someone laugh.

Send someone a joke to cheer them up.

Send someone a picture of a cute animal.

Put a surprise note or drawing on someone’s desk.

Share what you have:

Take your stuff to Goodwill.

Make and send a care package to someone who needs it.

Donate to a charity.

Be gracious:

Give up your seat, wherever you are.

Let someone get ahead of you in line.

Take a minute to help someone who is lost.

Hold the door for someone.

Let a fellow driver merge into your lane.

Pick up trash in your neighborhood.

While all 365 days of the year are ripe with opportunities to express kindness – such as baking an unexpected cake in appreciation and gratitude, February 17th is celebrated as Random Acts of Kindness Day. How will you express the kindness that is in your heart?


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