Doing good deeds not only affects those around you, but also improves your own emotional well-being. Try these random acts of kindness from Debbie Macomber, author of One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity.
So how do we get in the habit of doing good deeds? Habits need to be cultivated. When I decided I wanted to do a daily good deed, I found myself looking for simple things that would brighten someone’s day. The desire made me more intentional. I started looking for ways to show kindness.
I’m not saying it comes easily. We’re all busy, distracted, and pulled in far too many directions. As with any habit, the more you practice, the more ingrained it will become. I second what John Wooden once said: “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
And each time we perform some small act of kindness, we’ll find ourselves rewarded by that rush of happiness and stress release. The very act offers its own reward and reinforces the behavior. That should be incentive enough.
Simple Good Deeds
So you’ve decided you want to join my good-deed-a-day club but you’re stumped for ideas. Here’s a list of kindness acts to get you started in brainstorming many more ideas of your own.
- Do someone else’s job. It’s as simple as that. If your husband does the dishes every night, surprise him by insisting he sit one night out while you clean up following dinner. Rake leaves for an elderly neighbor. Shovel the snow in front of your church, saving the janitor an added task. Or if you’re the boss, you could offer to get coffee for someone who works for you.
- Be nice. It’s not complicated. If you’re standing in a long line, replace impatience with a smile and a kind word or two. If you go to a restaurant, note the server’s name and use it when addressing him or her. If travel plans get changed, smile and be kind to the agent having to rebook a whole planeload of people. Compliment a cute child to a proud parent or a well behaved dog to an equally proud dog owner. Give up your seat to the elderly, hold doors for those coming behind you, stop for pedestrians, and wipe off the sink in a public restroom after you’ve used it. All these tiny acts add up.
- Appreciate people. Showing appreciation can take many forms. Drop notes to friends and acquaintances. Write a letter to a company to praise the service of one of their employees. Leave a generous tip to show appreciation.
- Make a difference. Some good deeds make a significant difference to those on the receiving end. If you live in farm country, you may be able to glean the fields and take the food to your soup kitchen or mission. Senior citizens can often use help with physical chores. Visit someone in jail. The key to doing good deeds that make a difference is keeping your eyes open for those in need.
- Ask the Lord to nudge you. Those “divine appointments” have often been the best way to see where I can help. If you are willing, God will lead you to those who need help.