Random Acts of Kindness Day

Next Saturday, 17 February 2024

On February 17 let yourself be inspired by Random Acts of Kindness Day to bring joy to the people you come across. The day encourages people to do good deeds, and celebrate the pay-it-forward mentality. It also reminds us that doing something kind for someone else can have a big impact not only on their day, but also on ours - being kind to others makes us happier, and makes us realize we need to be kinder to ourselves too. An act of kindness doesn't have to be a big gesture either, sometimes the smallest act can have the biggest impact.

So, on Random Acts of Kindness Day, do kind things for others. It is easy, free, and will put a smile on everyone's face.

Two men begging for money, one with a sign that says help. Someone is placing money into their cup.
Finding the moments in your everyday life to be kind to those in need.

Background

Random Acts of Kindness Day was inspired by the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 in San Francisco, California, now based in Denver, Colorado. They have for many years produced material and resources such as calendars for people at work, in the classroom, and at home. 

Nearly a decade later, in 2004, a man named Josh de Jong began celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Day in New Zealand. calling it RAK day, this is celebrated by New Zealanders on September 16. The day quickly grew in popularity and the idea of celebrating a day of kindness spread across the world. 

The beauty of Random Acts of Kindness Day is that it is so easy to participate in, but it can completely change someone's day. Even the smallest kind gesture has the power to make someone happy and turn their bad day into a good one.
On this day, stay alert for any inspiration that may come to you to do something kind for people you come across. You may find an old person that needs help carrying their shopping or see someone at the coffee shop or the supermarket who is short of change for whatever it is they're buying, even just complimenting someone on their clothes or their smile can instantly lift their mood.

The best thing is, by doing a random act of kindness for someone you may inspire them to pay it forward and do something kind for someone else in turn. In doing so you are helping to make the world a better place. 

Be kind, it's good for you!

One major benefit of being kind is that it is actually good for both your physical and mental health! Here are a couple of examples of ways in which evidence seems to suggest this might be true:

The 'Helper's High'

Studies have shown that when you are kind and helpful to others your brain is stimulated in much the same way as it is if you have received the act of kindness. Being kind to others releases endorphins which relax the body, improve your mood, and make you feel good. 

To relieve stress

Being kind to others increases the production of oxytocin in the body, even watching an act of kindness take place can help produce this hormone. Low levels of Oxytocin might even be connected to depression. Having higher levels of oxytocin can lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. It's a win-win!

Be happy

Being kind to others can increase your levels of dopamine and serotonin. When your brain releases serotonin, this can help improve and stabilize your mood by reducing anxiety, and decreasing feelings of depression. 

Three ladies laughing and chatting together on a bright day

How to Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day

One of the best ways to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day is by being friendly and kind to strangers. Research carried out in 2014 discovered that two of the most friendly cities in the world are in America; Charleston, South Carolina, and Savanah, Georgia. Some of the other most friendly cities included Victoria BC in Canada and Dublin, Ireland. These are cities where people go out of their way to show warm hospitality, and kindness; places where people help those who need it. 

Here are some ideas of things you can do for others to share some friendliness, inspire you, and motivate you on Random Acts of Kindness Day. You'll see how easy it is to be kind:

  • Smile at the people you come across on your commute.
  • When you go to the supermarket, buy some extra food and donate it to the food bank.
  • If you come across someone in need of help, such as someone with a flat tire, take some time to give them a hand. 
  • Compliment a friend or colleague on their achievements.
  • Bring some baked goods to share with people at work.
  • Pay for the person behind you at the coffee shop or the drive-thru.
  • Offer to do difficult chores for your elderly neighbor. 

If you are a teacher or a parent or are just curious about what other acts of kindness you can do today, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has many free resources on its website. 

Don't forget to tell others that it is Random Acts of Kindness Day, and share the kindness with your friends and family. Many people do this by using the hashtags #RAKDay, #RandomActsOfKindness, or #RandomActsOfKindnessDay on social media. 

These are only a few ideas of things you can do, but let yourself be inspired and encourage others around you to do good deeds on Random Acts of Kindness Day!

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Random Acts of Kindness Day