6 random acts of kindness that won't break the bank

Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, it’s always good to take a step back and do something nice for someone out of the goodness of your heart. The simplest of actions can make a world of difference. Oftentimes, we want to help others but we automatically assume that it’s going to take a major toll on us financially. However, helping others is actually much easier than we make it seem. Did you know that emotions are contagious? It’s a process called Emotional Contagion. Knowing this, just smiling at someone can have a major impact on them. 

1. Smiling

This leads me to the first random act of kindness that definitely won’t break the bank, and it’s simply smiling. Today when you leave for school, work, or just going out to enjoy the day, make it a goal to smile to at least 10 people. The other day I was out for a drive with my family and we were passing through a neighbourhood. A woman was walking out of her house and instead of just looking at me, she smiled. Only then did I actually realize I was frowning and I returned the gesture without thinking and smiled back at her. I felt good afterwards, and it was nice to be smiled at. Sometimes that’s really all we need to feel better; a friendly face to remind us that there’s still a lot of good in the world. Why not be that friendly face for someone? 

2. Paying it forward

Another way to spread good energy and kindness is paying it forward. This is something I noticed my mom started doing a few years ago. Whenever we were at the Tim Horton’s drive thru window, she’d ask what the total was for the car behind her. If it was under $15.00, she paid for someone’s coffee or donut for the day before they got to the window. These are the kinds of things that don’t take much of a toll on us financially and are ways of doing good to others. In a similar sense you could also pay for a little extra time on the parking meter, or give some construction workers a pop or bottle of water. These little things go a very long way and don’t cost much.

3. Appreciating others non-digitally

Who are the most important people in your life? Are these people aware of their importance to you? If so, what have you done to let them know? Is this enough? These questions bring me to the next random act of kindness. This is something very important, however, I find it can be easily overlooked - telling someone that you actually appreciate them. Sometimes that rare “I love you mom” text just isn’t enough. We live in an age now where it’s much easier to do and say things online. Like for instance texting someone a birthday message, or making an Instagram post about how much you love your best friend. Although these are all nice things to do, and I’ll admit I’ve done each of those things many times myself, sometimes it’s good to veer away from the internet to express your gratitude in a more personal manner. Writing a letter to someone you value is a good way to get out on paper what it is about them that you’re thankful for. Why not spontaneously call your mom, dad, sister, friend, etc. and just tell them you love them and how much of an impact they’ve had on you. Reminding the people you love and care about that you are thankful for them can make a world of a difference. It feels good to know that you’re appreciated and cared for. This is another random act of kindness that is free of charge, and reminds me of the saying, “It costs so little to say so much.”

4. Lend a helping hand

Random acts of kindness can come from the smallest of deeds. In this case, try lending a helping hand to someone who could use it. When helping someone out, it doesn’t have to be the biggest gesture; it could be something as simple as holding a door open for someone who needs it, or offering your seat someone on a crowded bus. You could help your neighbours out every once in a while and mow their lawn or take their garbage cans and recycling to the side of the road on garbage days. A little goes a long way and it doesn’t hurt to help.

5. Listening

On a more personal note, reach out to someone in need and lend your listening ear. Every so often, the most comforting and helpful feeling is to have someone who will listen to us with their undivided and sincere attention. Knowing we have a person to talk and vent to about what we’re going through makes it much easier to cope with our problems.

6. Small, thoughtful gifts

Another random act of kindness is keeping an eye out for others and thinking of them when you come across items in stores.  If you’re out and something catches your eye that you know a loved one would like, grab if for them if it’s less than ten dollars. An example of this would be if you have a friend who’s very into writing and you see a notebook or a spiffy pen at a local shop: Grab it for them! Keep people in mind when you’re on vacation and you see something they might like. Buying souvenirs is always a thoughtful and kind gesture. It’s always cheerful to be thought of and remembered by another person. 

The simplicity of these random acts of kindness makes them easy to incorporate into everyday life. The world is a much softer, more loving place when we radiate positive vibes with genuine kindness. So the next time you see your neighbour struggling with something, offer a helping hand. If you glance at someone that isn’t smiling, give them yours. With these simple acts, you'll easily see how much of difference it makes when we’re kind to one another.

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