39 Acts of Kindness Anyone Can Do To Brighten Someone’s Day

Want to brighten up a sad world?

Tiny acts that cost little to nothing can help turn someone’s day around and give them hope.

In this post, we’re sharing 38 acts of kindness you can do anyday.

Reasons for Acts of Kindness

Why should you do a good deed when you may also be struggling? Well, there’s a few reasons:

  • Makes You Happier, Improves Well-Being. Researchers analyzed a series of studies and found that performing acts of kindness makes you modestly happy and improves well-being. In fact, they said the effect was a “small-to-medium-comparable” to interventions such as mindfulness, which is often recommend to decrease anxiety.
  • Boredom. If you’re stuck at home and looking for things to do, these can provide a productive hobby that others will appreciate.
  • Keep Kids Busy. If you need to keep your kids busy, there’s a few ideas on here that could be good for them too.
  • Help Others. So many people are struggling right now. Whether it be their health, job or finances. Pretty much everyone could use a good deed to uplift them 🙂

39 Acts of Kindness & Good Deeds

Whether you have millions to spend or literally nothing, there’s something you can do to bring a smile to someone’s face.

FREE Good Deed Ideas

No money? No problem. (Actually, a big problem. But not for this list)

#1 Leave Google Reviews for Local Businesses

Small, local businesses appreciate reviews more than anyone else. These companies are the ones that need kind words the most now.

#2 Write a Gratitude Letter

Write a letter to a friend, family member, co-worker or your partner about how much they mean to you. Just about everyone could use a smile right now.

#3 Leave a Review for Your Favorite Entertainment Source

Reviews help everyone! For example, leave a review on iTunes for your favorite Podcast or on a Facebook page for your local theatre or concert hall.

#4 Nice YouTube Comment

Leave your favorite YouTube entertainer a nice comment. 

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#5 Spread Good Gossip

Spread the good kind of gossip. When you hear someone say something good about something else, pass it on to that person when you see them. Saying “The other day Mary said you looked beautiful with your haircut” takes nothing and will brighten their day. It also helps bring people closer when they know they’re complimenting each other behind their back.

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#6 Write Local Politicians

If something is pissing you off, for example, the lack of help for homeless people in your town, write a local politician. Tell them what matters to you and what you think they can do to change it.

#7 Let Someone Vent

 If you have enough mental capacity, letting your friend rant for a bit could really help them. (But never do it at the risk of your own mental health!)

#8 Display Drawings in Your Window

Make drawings or signs of support and hang them in your window. It could be a simple painting to brighten someone’s day. Or it may be a protest sign for something you’re passionate about, like “My Body, My Choice.”

#9 Chalk

The kids in my neighborhood have been doing this, but who says adults can’t too? To give you some inspiration, here are some things I’ve read on chalked sidewalks:

  • “We’re all in this together”
  • “Hope you have a great day”
  • “You’re beautiful”
  • And just a bunch of hearts drawn along an entire street (I love this)

#10 Stone Messages

This is another idea I didn’t come up with. The credit goes to amazing kids in my area and the good people that parent them. They put a basket of stones at the end of their driveway with some blank and some drawn stones. There was a marker beside the basket to write and leave your own message on a rock. Or, you could take an inspirational stone message home. 

#11 Write Corporations

This could be a long shot because many, in my opinion, are unlikely to listen. But we can still try, right? If you’re pissed off at a company, tell them! For example, writing Amazon heads telling them that they can afford to treat their employees well.

Don’t have a company contact? Here’s a hint: type “company + position (CEO, marketing, COO, CFO, etc.)” + “LinkedIn” into Google. Once you find the name of the person you’re looking for, download the Google Chrome extension Hunter. Go to the company’s website, click the extension on your toolbar and type the person’s name in the box. If the person doesn’t show up, you’ll probably at least be left with a hint about the email format (ex. [email protected]).

Airing your grievances can be cathartic! Just remember to never make attacks personal; the people reading your emails may just be employees doing their job without any decision-making power. Still, it’s their job to pass on the message.

#12 Stop Supporting Asshole Companies

Pissed about how Tim Hortons tried to enforce doctor’s notes during COVID-19? Or how a local company laid off employees while giving the CEO a huge pay raise? Give it to them where it hurts most: By not giving anything at all. 

#13 Check-In with People, Especially Those Most Vulnerable

Checking-in with people costs nothing. Those who are elderly or live alone need it the most. Actually, I think who really need it the most are people who you suspect may be in abusive relationships/family. Make sure they’re safe, let them know about local resources, provide help when you can and alert authorities if you are aware of any violence. 

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#14 Pick Up Trash

Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of trash on the street. Take a few hours, a garbage bag and gloves and pick it up.

#15 Order a Meal to Someone Who Needs It

Know a family that’s struggling to eat but they’re too stubborn to take money? Order take-out to their home and then say, “it’s too late, already ordered, will be outside your home in 20 minutes.”

#16 Play with Your Pet

Your dog and cat agree–playing with them is a good deed! 

#17 Offer Help with Signs or Posts

Offer to pick up groceries or medication for those who can’t. You can do this by posting in a local Facebook group or even making a sign and posting it in your community (you can use a fake email or number if you wish).

#18 Do What You Can with Your Profession

If you have a certain skill set that can benefit others during this time, consider offering it for free or low cost. If you’re a well-off landlord, consider being a good person and letting rent slide for a month. If you own or manage a hotel, consider offering rooms to homeless people.

#19 Be Nice

The least you can do is not be an asshole. Say please and thank you to retail workers and healthcare staff. Then carry that new habit with you for decades to come.

#20 Collect Small Soaps & Shampoos

Homeless shelters, women’s shelters and rehab programs love receiving donations of mini soaps and shampoos. Save them next time you go to a hotel.

#21 Try Not to Judge Others

We may not be able to fully control our immediate judgments, but we can try to limit them. When your first instinct is to be judgemental, be curious instead.

#22 Bake & Give Away

Bake something delicious and give it to someone else. Elderly neighbors, office co-workers and family members may love receiving a batch of cupcakes or cookies.

Good Deeds Involving Money

#23 Pay for Someone’s Groceries

If you’re in a position to do so, spot someone in line who looks like they may be struggling. Then, offer to pay for their groceries. If your budget is limited, you can offer to pay for just one big item instead. If they resist, explain that you want to and they can repay you by doing something nice for someone else whenever they can. This happened to my sister when a stranger bought her a case of pop—it brightened her day and almost made us both cry.

#24 Support Good Businesses

Support businesses (local or corporations) that you know are treating employees well. For example, I got an email from a tattoo shop saying they’re still paying laid off artists and offering a line of credit, for which the company themselves will pay the interest on. This was a kind thing to do during COVID-19. So, I wrote them to say that. You can do the same with any business that runs with integrity first.

#25 Donate a Can when Buying

Most grocery stores have a designated cart or box where you can drop in non-perishable items for a food bank. After you check out, add a can or another item into the pile.

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#26 Donate Through Social Posts

Many Facebook local community groups or local employment groups have people posting about what they should do if they can’t afford food, rent, etc. This is a quick way to spot people who need it if you’re looking to donate.

#27 Vemo Money

There’s people online, particularly Twitter, asking for money to help them pay rent or afford meals for their family. They often share their PayPal and Vemo info which you can easily donate to.

#28 Leave Coins/Bills Around

Leave coins or bills around town. If you want, lightly tape the coin or bill to a kind note, saying something like, “If you need this, take it!” Then you can tape the bag to any sign or pole. You can also leave it on a shelf in a store.

#29 Make a Donation

There’s so many places that need money so they can help others. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here’s some starter ideas:

  • Food banks
  • Homeless shelters 
  • Homeless shelters for children/teenagers
  • Domestic violence shelters 
  • Addiction programs 

*Please email us any that I should add to this list!

#30 Buy Local

Instead of shopping at a big box grocery store, can you afford to shop at a local grocery store? Or, if a friend’s birthday is coming up and you need to get them a gift, consider a small shop in town. Buying from Etsy can also support tiny businesses who will appreciate every single sale. 

#31 Pay for Take-Out

If you order takeout and go in to pick up and pay, ask if you can also pay for the next person picking up.

#32 Pay for Drive-Thru

Ask to pay for the person behind you when you pay for yours.

#33 Tweet a Thanks

Tweet a heartfelt thanks to someone who you love following on Twitter.

#34 Pre-Pay for Laundry At Laundromat

Put a few coins in a washer or dryer WITHOUT pressing start. The next person to use it will have a nice free surprise 🙂

#35 Leave a Tip

Tip anywhere you can–even if it’s not somewhere you usually tip, like the ice cream parlor or coffee shop.

#36 Tip Your Grocery Store Worker

Say thanks by tipping your grocery cashier or stock person, similar to how you would a waitress.

#37 Tip Your Delivery Driver

Tip your delivery driver well 🙂

#38 Foster a Pet

Many animal shelters constantly operate at or around full capacity. That means they can’t accept any more until they clear space, which is a terrifying thought for kill shelters. Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility, so this isn’t for everyone. But fostering is a way you can temporarily have a dog or cat while she’s trying to find her forever home. She will keep you company while you keep her safe and make room for other animals who need help.

#39 Bonus: Perspective?

I think using a crappy situation to gain perspective and have empathy is an act of kindness. For example, if you’re well-off and you’ve lost some savings, you can hopefully have a little more empathy for those that don’t have a lot in their emergency fund. Everyone has a story. If we can use our experiences to understand others a bit better, I think the world would be a kinder, better place to live, right?

Have Any Other Good Deed Ideas? Email Me 🙂

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YoHumanz is a blog dedicated to helpful and inspirational content about being human today—written in a non-bullshitty, (hopefully) more approachable way. We focus on 3 main areas: Heart, Brain and Soul.

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