October 5th is National Do Something Nice Day, celebrated both in the United States and in many countries around the world. Similar to Random Acts of Kindness Day, it encourages people to literally do something nice.
Of course, we should be doing nice things for others every day of the year – hopefully without having to think about it. But with busy lives and many demands on our time, we often forget to slow down and show kindness and appreciation to others.
This is certainly the case for many people in their daily interactions with strangers. For example, think about the last time you were at the store. Did you thank the clerk that rang up your groceries? And if you did thank them, did you address them by name? It might not seem like much, but small gestures of genuine appreciation can really make someone else’s day.
But many of us also forget to go out of our way to be kind even to those who are in our daily lives. Be it coworkers, friends or family, we often take those closest to us for granted and stop taking the time to give them a compliment, take something off their plate or show them in some special way that we care. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the everyday that we forget to show our appreciation even to those we love.
Remember the last time a friend surprised you with a gift or just called and asked “How are you doing”? Didn’t it make your day? Or maybe it was a time when you came home to find your partner had cooked you dinner and you got a night off. Or a coworker personally thanked you for making their workday better.
These are all small acts of kindness. And they’re really easy. Doing something nice can be almost effortless, and if you start incorporating these small things into your daily life starting with Do Something Nice Day, you will start to see a positive difference in your life—and the lives of others.
1. Doing something nice for someone can make a huge impact on the other person. Even if they’re not having a particularly bad day, receiving a compliment or a genuine thank you will brighten their day. And for those who are having a bad one or going through a rough patch, small acts of kindness can make a big difference.
2. Being nice makes you happier. According to research undertaken by the University of Oxford, “being kind to others causes a small but significant improvement in subjective well-being”. Although the researchers found the effect to be lower than a lot of “pop-psychology” articles claim, the study lead author Dr. Oliver Scott Curry concluded, “This research suggests that people do indeed derive satisfaction from helping others. This is probably because we genuinely care about others’ welfare, and because random acts of kindness are a good way of making new friends, and kick-starting supportive social relationships.’
3. It will make you feel more connected. Ironically in our age of hyper-connectivity thanks to smartphones, email and social media, we’re somehow less connected than ever before. Actively participating in your community and taking the time to help others can help build a sense of belonging.
So go out there this Friday and try it out for yourself! There are many ways to celebrate Do Something Nice Day, from bringing a coworker their favorite coffee, letting someone go ahead of you in line or leaving a more generous tip at lunch, but for those of you who need a little help, below is a list of 30 great ideas to get you started.
30 National Do Something Nice Day Ideas
- Mow your neighbor’s lawn
- Volunteer for a day at a charity
- Call a friend or family member just to tell them you love them
- Bake a cake or bring treats for the office or your kid’s school staff
- Make a donation
- Let someone in front of you in line
- Write a thank you note
- Babysit for a friend
- Rescue an animal
- Pay the toll for the car behind you
- Make someone laugh
- Say hello to everyone you come across on your morning run
- Put some coins in an expired meter
- Spend an hour visiting with residents at a nursing home
- Send a handwritten letter
- Buy a homeless person a meal (or cook one – see number 21)
- Give up your seat on public transport
- Hug someone
- Pay a compliment to every person you come in contact with (or as many as you can!)
- Smile at a stranger
- Cook a meal for someone
- Offer a helping hand to someone struggling
- Take your mom out to lunch
- Do your roommate’s laundry
- Bring flowers to a friend
- Take your dog on an adventure
- Tell your boss you appreciate him/her
- Play with your kids (or someone else’s!)
- Hold the elevator for someone
- Pick up litter
Did you know that October 5th is also World Teachers’ Day? Held annually since 1994, World Teachers’ Day commemorates the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which addresses teacher’s rights and responsibilities on a global level. Why not combine the two celebrations and do something nice for a teacher? You could stop by or call to thank them for the wonderful job they do, send them a card or a small present or gift some classroom supplies. And don’t forget to encourage your children to do something nice for their teachers as well!
However you choose to be kind in honor of Do Something Nice Day, just get out there and do as many nice things as you can on October 5th, and every day.