Today isn’t just Friday the 13th; it’s also – and much more importantly – World Kindness Day. This has been a thing since 1998, and is pretty much what it says on the tin: a day dedicated to being kind to other people.
In a world that so often seems like a very dark place, it’s easy to feel like we as individuals can’t make a difference. But if we all think like that, nothing will ever change. And maybe brightening one person’s day is enough; it might not change the world, but it could change theirs, and that’s what matters.
So here are 8 simple ways we can all be a little kinder, starting right now. Let’s try and make every day World Kindness Day. Because – well, can anyone think of a good reason not to…?
1. Give up your seat
This is just good manners, really, but you don’t only have to give up your seat for elderly people or pregnant ladies. Surprise someone by offering; for all you know they’ve had a really long day at work and taking the weight off their feet might be just what they need.
2. Say something nice
No need to gush, but a simple observation that someone looks nice, or an acknowledgment that they’ve achieved something (however big or small), or just a kind word because they look a bit down, could make all the difference.
3. Buy a suspended coffee
The idea is simple but brilliant: when you buy a coffee for yourself, buy a second one for someone who’s homeless. Cafés all over the world now belong to the Suspended Coffees movement; visit their website to find one near you.
4. Make a donation to charity
Any charity you like. It’s really easy to donate now – you can literally do it anywhere, any time. Or you could do a crazy sponsored event and get other people to do the donating. And if money’s tight, you can donate books, clothes or other possessions you don’t need any more to charity shops.
5. Surprise someone
Today was a bit of a long day at the office, and somewhere along the way, we started talking about chocolate pizza. As you do. So one of the guys quietly took himself off and made one. (And by that I mean he melted some chocolate in a frying pan and stuck some Smarties in it, but it’s the thought that counts.) Surprising someone with a kind gesture – it doesn’t even need to be anything big – is a great way to cheer someone up, and will probably make you feel pretty good too.
6. Smile and say hello
So simple. On the train, in the street, at work – instead of avoiding eye contact, smile and say hello. Not in a creepy way – just a friendly greeting; it could really cheer someone up if they’re having a bad day.
7. Volunteer your time
We all have skills in different areas – whether it’s photography, writing, knitting, cooking, music… – and they can all be useful to different groups and organisations working in our society. There are so many ways to volunteer; visit a site like Do-It for ideas in your local area.
8. Pay it forward
Someone did something nice for you? Pass it on. Pay it Forward isn’t just the name of a movie – it’s a whole movement, and even has its own day every April. The idea is that if we all pass on a good deed, the kindness will keep on going and spreading. (Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something nice for the person who was kind to you, as well.)
Happy World Kindness Day, everyone. Thank you for reading, and may I say you all look lovely today 🙂