Eight Acts of Kindness to Brighten Someone’s Day

Priscilla du Preez via Unsplash

Priscilla du Preez via Unsplash

Recently, a high school friend dropped some homemade pudding off at my home. It was a small gesture, but after months of social distancing, the fact that she thought of me brightened my whole day.

Whether we are in a pandemic or not, each of us could use a little more kindness in our lives. In this article, I hope to encourage you to spread a bit of kindness today. Kind acts are a simple way to do a good thing: they can be done from home or out in the world, they can support the mental health of ourselves and those around us, and they can simply spread a bit of joy. 

How does kindness impact our wellbeing?

Whether we are the giver or the recipient of kindness, we have all probably experienced the good feelings that result from such acts. But how exactly does this happen? 

According to one study, when we perform an act of kindness, the connection between ourselves and the recipient produces the neuropeptide oxytocin in both of us. When oxytocin is released from our brain and bloodstream, we become more confident and trusting. Oxytocin can also reduce mistrust and anxiety, including fear about people and their behavior. [4] By generating oxytocin, kindness can benefit the wellbeing and mental health of everyone involved. 

Moreover, one study by researchers at Oxford University found that kind acts boost our happiness—regardless of whether we are kind to our acquaintances, close friends, or ourselves. [3] According to the study, each of these options increases subjective happiness. This result has an interesting, perhaps somewhat surprising, implication: even types of kindness that might seem less helpful, such as kindness to strangers, can help boost happiness within ourselves. 

Eight Acts of Kindness

Below are a few ideas for ways to implement kindness into your life. I hope you choose what works for you!

  • Give someone in your life a genuine compliment. Words of affirmation can truly make a difference, especially in difficult times. An easy act of kindness to do from home, giving a compliment can mean texting a friend, sending an email to a professor or TA, or telling an essential worker in your life that you appreciate them. Everyone has had to adapt to unique difficulties during the pandemic, so even a few words of acknowledgement can make someone’s day. 

  • Call a family member or friend who you’ve been meaning to call, and ask them how they’re doing! Personally, I think of and care about many people in my life, but don’t call or text them as much as I could. Giving those people a call can be a great way to catch up, re-connect, and brighten both of your moods. 

  • Bake cookies and drop some off to your friends or neighbors. Who doesn’t like an extra dessert? Baking something and surprising your friend can let them know you are thinking about them. And it is an excellent way to get some social-distanced, face-to-face interaction!

Shawnee via Unsplash

Shawnee via Unsplash

  • If you’re heading to the grocery store, text your neighbor or ask your roommate to see if there’s anything you can pick up. This act of kindness is very accessible, as it can be done any time you go to the store! And it can meaningfully help your friend or roommate by taking a chore off their shoulders. 

  • Leave a Yelp review for your favorite local business. Many local businesses have struggled to adapt to the pandemic; leaving a quick Yelp review can help boost their business and let them know that you appreciate them. 

  • Find out the names of people you regularly see and greet them by name. This can be workers or customers at nearby stores, people in your apartment building, or neighbors—greeting people by name is a great way to make them feel recognized, and it can help spark a new connection. 

  • Write a self-compassionate list of things you like about yourself. When we are thinking about kindness, it is often easy to forget to be kind to ourselves—but self-compassion can be enormously beneficial for our mental health. Next time you have a free moment, take some time to acknowledge what you appreciate about yourself! 

  • Give yourself an hour of indulgence—do anything that makes you happy. Another act of self-kindness is prioritizing free time and not feeling guilty about it. By giving ourselves time for self-care, we can enjoy the current moment and empower ourselves for the next. 

Bottom Line

Kindness—to our friends, our neighbors, and ourselves—can be an excellent way to brighten the days of everyone involved. I hope you’ve found a few ideas from this article, and that you’ve been inspired to spread a bit of extra joy into the world today!


  1. “Acts of Kindness and Acts of Novelty Affect Life Satisfaction.” J Soc Psychol. (2010).

  2. “Kindness Counts: Prompting Prosocial Behavior in Preadolescents Boosts Peer Acceptance and Well-Being.” PLOS. (2012).

  3. “A range of kindness activities boost happiness.” J Soc Psychol. (2018).

  4. “Why Kindness is Good For You.” Prediction Magazine. (2010).

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