Friday, November 13th, is World Kindness Day.
I’ve been looking forward to this day for almost a year, having just missed it last year. Not be deterred, I printed a reminder and put it in my new day timer right away.
I know this blog is about Appreciation first and foremost, but I’ve always felt that kindness can beget gratitude/appreciation, and that showing/expressing our gratitude can also trigger kindness. Kind of makes a nice circle don’t you think?
World Kindness Day, was first introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). This group’s primary objective is to “foster goodwill among the broad community – local, national, and international – by way of kindness and in so doing, create greater understanding and cooperation between all people and all nations throughout the world.” (You may be familiar with one of the US delegates, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.)
All in all, it’s a day to inspire individuals to share kindness
and strive to create a kinder world.
What can I do?
On this day, I encourage you to show kindness to your friends, family, loved ones, colleagues and strangers. Your act can be big or small. Really anything that shows your appreciation or kindness to another person will do. I’ve been planning on what I’m going to do on the 13th for a while, but have put together a list of 12 things that may help inspire you to take part in this truly special day. (FYI: The tasks I’m going to do are those in Green.) Here’s a list of actions you can take:
1. Write 5 Thank you notes to those who have made an impact on my life or have recently helped me (You didn’t actually think I could forego my tried and true way to share my appreciation. These notes will also be more of the Just Because type vs. due to a recent interview or act of assistance.) Like this idea, but need help writing one? Visit these 2 of my prior posts for tips:
2. Feed meters or pay for someone’s coffee. (I don’t drink coffee so the latter half of this is harder for me personally. I did do it once, though I did not stick around to see the recipient or if the barista simply drank it.)
3. Make food and distribute to office mates or friends – It’s best to share with someone who knows and trusts you vs. a stranger. (Be sure to include the recipe!)
4. Surprise someone in your network with a reference on LinkedIn. You likely have many in your LI network or otherwise whom you could write a glowing recommendation.
So often it’s their request that prompts us to help, why not surprise her/him before they have to ask. (You can also offer to provide/write one even if you’re not on LinkedIn.)
Idea courtesy of Jenn of Work Wonders Coaching.
5. Put 25 – 50 paper hearts or smiley faces in a box/jar. On the back of each one, write something that is special about your lover or a good friend. Give her/him the box and tell her to pull out a heart or smiley face anytime she gets lonely or wants a pick me up.
6. Have an Amazon account? Did you know that you can donate money to your favorite US non-profit through Amazon Smile. Amazon will donate 5% of the price of your eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. I just set this up and it took less than a minute!
7. Since World Kindness day is so close to Veteran’s Day – Send a special note to a veteran, soldier or wounded military personnel. If you don’t know any personally, here are two links to make a connection:
Write a letter to a deployed or wounded member of the military through Operation Gratitude. Soldiers say that’s the most meaningful part of care packages they receive.
On Facebook? You can send your thanks to military members through Military Facebook pages.
8. Say thank you to those that you see every day, but whom may not work “with” you. Everyone is important from the office security guard and the person at the front desk to the mailroom clerk and cleaning staff. Get to know their names and greet them by name. It also never hurts to say thanks for their services as you likely would have a completely different office without them. Plus we all like to feel that our efforts are appreciated.
9. Looking for something on the Internet? Instead of simply turning to that popular search site, use Goodsearch to search the internet, play games or answer survey questions. 50% of their ad revenue and/or 1 cent for every search is donated to charity.
10. Printing some coupons before you go on a shopping spree? Print out a few extra (when you can) and bring them along. You can surreptitiously leave them in the store for others to find, or hand out to a fellow customer who looks like they could use one for their purchases.
11. Create some inspirational quotes or signs and place them around the office or in your colleagues’ work spaces. You never know when someone may need that pick-me-up.
12. Make an impact for those who need help by visiting Free Rice, a United Nations Food Program that donates rice to hungry people when you interact with the web site.
It’s Good for You!
Now of course, while I want to promote World Kindness Day, I do believe that showing kindness deserves more than just one day to share or celebrate it. Kindness and gratitude should be shared as much as possible, all year-long. Plus did you know that it’s been scientifically proven to be beneficial to do so? A great reference I found was Amy Morin’s Forbes article about 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude. Here are my top three from the article:
- Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma.
- Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people…
- Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends…