“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.

Henry James

February 17th marks the beginning of Random Acts of Kindness Week. If everyone picks just one or two of these 17 tiny things (or add your own!), we could make this day just a little bit brighter (and kinder!) for everyone.  

People who perform acts of kindness are 42 percent happier! You never know what someone is facing in his or her life and a simple act of caring or generosity can make a person’s day.

You don’t even need to step away from your phone or laptop to celebrate this week. Here are both conventional and virtual acts of kindness.

In the “real world”…

  1. Smile at a total stranger; pay for the coffee for the person behind you in line.
  2. Call a friend/family member just to ask how they’re doing. People who regularly spend about a quarter of their hours each day with family and friends are 12 times as likely to report feeling joyful rather than stressed or anxious.
  3. Sign-up for a volunteer gig. In one study, about 50 percent of participants reported feeling stronger and having more energy after helping others.
  4. Practice self-kindness; if you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, shut them down. According to the National Science Foundation, an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive.
  5. Leave an extra-big tip for a server. Tips can account for close to 6o percent of hospitality workers’ income.
  6. Cook a meal or a treat for someone you care about. (Bonus points if it’s their favorite food!) Know your significant other’s love language!
  7. Change a small habit to lower your carbon footprint and be kind to our planet. Bike, walk, or carpool. Bring a reusable bottle or mug to work.
  8. Ask an older person about their past. Ask a younger person for his or her perspectives.

And in the digital world…

  1. Like or comment on at least three posts; publicly thank someone who helped you.
  2. Set up a fundraiser for your favorite charity or donate to someone else’s. 48 percent of those who grew up with strong giving traditions consider themselves happy today.
  3. Create a digital photo album or playlist and send it to a loved one
  4. Try online meditation. Meditation relieves anxiety levels 60% of the time.
  5. Find an old photo of a happy time and share it with the person in the picture
  6. Put your phone away when talking to someone important. Stay present. 43 percent of heavy tech users (5-8 hours on a phone daily) reported experiencing relationship troubles, compared with 28 percent who spend only an hour on their phones each day.
  7. Leave a great review for a business. As many as 92.4 percent of buyers are influenced by reviews.
  8. Endorse a skill or leave a positive recommendation on LinkedIn. 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates.
  9. Share this post.

Every week should be Random Acts of Kindness Week, but now is as good a time as any to reflect on and modify your behaviors.

P.S. Gratitude to Emily Lockwood and Lindsey Myers for their help in compiling the list and stats! Surrounding yourself with kind people is bonus tip #18!

Credit: Giphy


  • Nancy A Shenker

    The Silver Hair Playbook: How to Be a Bad Ass >50™

    Nancy A. Shenker is a marketing innovator, brand builder, writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed rule breaker. Over the course of her 40-year business and marketing career, she has been a C-level executive, an entrepreneur, and a mentor to hundreds of small businesses at all stages. Founder of theONswitch marketing, Nancy was formerly a senior executive for major consumer and business brands, including Citibank, MasterCard, and Reed Exhibitions. She has written four books, and publishes a women’s entrepreneur community (www.sheBOOM.com), as well as AI/machine learning/robotics site www.EmbracetheMachine.com and travel and lifestyle site www.BleisureLiving.com. She also wrote a column for Inc.com called Bots & Bodies (about the human side of tech) and is a contributor to a wide range of consumer and business media. She recently won the "Killer Content Award" for a major project for a fast-growing technology company.