Intentional Acts of Kindness

Life is difficult. There are real challenging events that unfold every single day. If you watch the news, scroll the headlines on Twitter, read the NY Times or check Facebook, you can be bombarded with some very alarming headlines that can cause difficult emotions.

I do not believe that we should ignore the horrific, sad or tragic events that are happening such as wars, racial injustice, the attack on women’s rights, school shootings, homelessness and on and on and on. It is important to be aware, educated and active in our world, nation, cities, communities and neighborhoods. I don’t believe that an act of kindness can fix it all. I do not believe in toxic positivity where you just throw smiles and positive affirmations at tragedy. It is extremely important to face the difficult situations, circumstances, emotions and issues in our lives.

I believe self-care is a strong mix of facing the hard truths and realities in our world and processing the emotions around them. I also believe that we can simultaneously do acts of kindness for ourselves, others and the planet while handling difficult times and that can feel good. They do not fix problems but can add a small ray of sunshine, joy or even contentment to our lives. They are not a bandaid to wounds but they can be some of the antiseptic we need to heal.

Below I have compiled 100 ways to be kind to yourself, others or the world that can bring a small amount of hope and healing. I have found that by actively doing genuine and authentic kindness daily, my life feels more fulfilling and purposeful.

100 Acts of Kindness for yourself, others and the world:

  1. Read a book
  2. Call your mom
  3. Turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth
  4. Leave a tip
  5. Eat the chocolate
  6. Cry when you feel like crying
  7. Don’t read the comments
  8. Pick up that piece of trash that isn’t yours and throw it out
  9. Wear sunscreen
  10. Plant a tree
  11. Tell someone when they are being mean (preferably in a caring way)
  12. Pull over to the right lane to let the aggressive driver pass you (extra kindness: don’t glare at them, smile instead)
  13. Let the person in line behind you with only one item go in front of you at the grocery store
  14. Floss your teeth
  15. Thank a coworker for helping you on a difficult project
  16. Send a birthday card
  17. Pet a dog
  18. Hold the door for someone
  19. Offer to babysit for your friend who is a new parent and needs a nap
  20. Rake the bunker
  21. Write a letter to your high school teacher who made a difference in your life
  22. High five a stranger – or maybe fist bump in the Covid Era  😊
  23. Put the unwanted item back on the correct shelf in the store
  24. Get a stuffed animal no matter what your age
  25. Make your bed
  26. Buy yourself flowers
  27. Leave a book in a “free little library”
  28. Recycle
  29. Tell the truth
  30. Re-apply that sunscreen that you are already wearing because you did #9 from this list
  31. Call your dad
  32. Go on a walk
  33. Fill out the online questionnaire after visiting the post office
  34. Send a postcard
  35. Ask for the manager and then tell them what a great experience you had with ___________ (insert employee’s name here)
  36. Give a person experiencing homelessness something to eat
  37. Water the plants
  38. Encourage a child
  39. Wash the windows so you can see out of them more clearly
  40. Take a nap
  41. Smile at a stranger
  42. Don’t just be quiet when waiting for your turn to talk – listen, truly listen
  43. Puff up and then karate chop the decorative pillows on the couch
  44. Take time filling out an employee review and give positive and constructive feedback
  45. At work functions, a convention or a party, find the person in the room that looks like they might feel the way you feel and interact with them
  46. Bite your tongue
  47. Be kind to the person who calls you to talk about the extended warranty on your car even if you don’t have a car
  48. Meditate or breathe deeply
  49. Ask someone for support
  50. Drink water
  51. Call a friend
  52. Pick up that 20-dollar bill you saw a stranger drop and hand it back to them
  53. Write a positive Yelp review
  54. Vote
  55. Share someone’s online post that was inspiring
  56. Give someone support when they ask for it
  57. Put an “Out of office” up and don’t read the emails until you are actually back in the office
  58. Set boundaries
  59. Look people in the eye when you speak to them
  60. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are good enough
  61. Don’t leave your dirty dishes in the sink
  62. Keep those boundaries that you set
  63. Pay attention to people’s feelings, including your own
  64. Write down your thoughts
  65. Tell your kids or your sibling’s kids about your family history, traditions or other things that could be valuable to them now or in the future
  66. Do something creative
  67. Wear sweatpants when you want to wear sweatpants
  68. Teach a skill that you are proficient at to someone else
  69. Give the dog that extra treat
  70. Donate: your time, your money, your things
  71. Watch a butterfly or hummingbird that enters your orbit
  72. Put your phone down at the dinner table
  73. Take a break when you need or want a break
  74. Go to therapy or coaching or to a support group or to church (or all of them)
  75. Watch funny videos on line
  76. Go watch a marathon and cheer on strangers (extra kindness: yell their name if you can read their race bib)
  77. Protest against unjust behaviors, systems and organizations
  78. Support local business with your dollars, through word of mouth and online reviews
  79. Buy a lotto ticket and hand it to a stranger on the way out of the store
  80. Vacuum and clean your home often
  81. Get a massage
  82. Send a handwritten note to a friend on a random Tuesday to express your gratitude for them and their friendship
  83. Text back to the “wrong number” text and tell them to have a great day
  84. Empty your spam folder
  85. Keep a box of your favorite memories and share them with younger family members when you get older
  86. Go to the doctor and do what your doctor suggests
  87. Always order the chips and salsa with guacamole
  88. Stop fully at Stop signs
  89. Spend time in the garden and compost the weeds
  90. Wear a life vest, your seat belt and your helmet
  91. Check on your neighbors when the electricity goes out or there is a big storm
  92. Join a local group or sports team – adult kick ball, yoga group, poetry reading club, book club or any other group in your neighborhood, town or city
  93. Close the door behind you, or leave it open – whatever the situation calls for
  94. Write your future self a letter, seal it, put it in a self-addressed stamped envelope and have someone mail it to you on a designated date
  95. Wipe the toothpaste out of the sink
  96. Take mass transit, walk or ride your bike whenever possible
  97. Leave the campsite better than you found it
  98. Let your eating partner have the last mozzarella stick
  99. Do your taxes
  100. Let the pedestrian have the right of way

Whatever actions, intentions and acts you decide to do, I encourage you to make it a habit to do kind things often. These intentional acts will not change the fact that some things in life are hard, but I believe they can soften your experience and help you to shift your emotions, thought processes and mindset. So why not try it? You, those around you and the world deserves it.

 Your future self will thank you.

sara doell
Sara Doell is a CLCC certified life coach, Division 1 college golf coach, Class A LPGA member, co-creator of the Best Parts Podcast and is now a freaking published author. She is a three-time Big East coach of the year, 2015 LPGA National Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Gates Chili High School Hall of Fame in Rochester, NY in 2016. Sara believes in the law of attraction, that the toilet paper goes over and not under and that Charleston Chews should only be eaten straight out of the freezer. She has an irrational fear of frogs, is a loyal fan of the musical “Rent” and thinks olives taste like feet smell (you will never convince her otherwise). She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Caitlin and their rescue dog named Mr. Harvey Milk who spends his time barking at the toaster oven, peeing on every third tree on dog walks and defending his moms fiercely from squirrels and the mailman. Her future dreams include owning a home in a sleepy beach town that is within an hour of a major metropolitan airport, visiting all 50 states before the Big 5-0, petting a sloth and learning how to play the guitar. You can connect with Sara on her website.

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