Posts Tagged ‘Random Acts of Kindness’

Monday I shared that to celebrate my 40th birthday my friends and I joined forces to fill our local communities with random acts of kindness.  We spread our kindness amongst 20 states and 5 countries and we all learned many lessons along the way.

Small Acts Big Changes

One part I enjoyed about this project was the variety of acts that were done. Some acts influenced many people such as a donation to a food bank. Other acts were smaller yet still inspiring.  A simple act can have a large impact on a person when done at the right time with the right intentions. One act of small kindness can release an enormous chain of positive events. Any act of kindness can be contagious and inspire others to pass on another kind act. It is hard to measure the impact of one simple act, so never think an act is too simple or small to spend time on.

One of the kindest acts someone ever did for me was to show up at my house with a plate of cookies as I was going through a tough time. She set those cookies on my counter, sat on the floor and played with my eight-month-old baby. She might not remember that day, but I will never forget it.  A plate of cookies and a half-hour of time, something I remember more than ten years later.

Missed Opportunities

 Often I find myself second-guessing a kind idea or intention I have. I will overthink something so long that an opportunity passes me by and I promptly switch to beating myself up for missing an opportunity. I was so inspired by my friends and what they were accomplishing that acting on a kind deed became easier for me to do. It became more second nature and I was more confident offering to help someone or pass on a compliment.

More Gratitude

Kindness promotes gratitude. Being kind to others encourages one to consider what is positive in their own life. As we went through forty days I noticed this happening in our group. We started posting about how others were being kind to us and the deeds that made our days a little better. Some of these acts happen so frequently or regularly we forget to show gratitude for them. For example, I noticed the bus drivers who get my children to school safely every day, the mailwoman who reliably delivers my mail, the people at the gym whose positivity make working out fun, and drivers on the road who let me over or wave me on at a stop sign.

According to Psychology Today, Kindness means a behavioral response of compassion and actions that are selfless; or a mindset that places compassion for others before one’s interests. In performing the selfless act, a person may undercut their selfish interests. This process can lead to more gratitude.

 Did we change the world? No. This reminds me of the song lyric; I can’t change the world but I can change yours. I don’t know if we permanently changed anyone’s world. I like to think we lightened a few loads, and added some extra smiles to our communities and that is enough. It is enough because it changed us.

When you can, hold the door, let someone over on the freeway, smile at a stranger. Do what you can where you can to make your corner of the world a little kinder- it is enough!


I Can’t Change the World, but I Can Change Yours. (2019, November 4). Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/11/04/i-cant-change-the-world-but-i-can-change-yours/.

Wahba, O. (2017). Kindness boomerang: how to save the world (and yourself) through 365 daily acts. New York: Flatiron Books.

Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Giving thanks can make you happier. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier.

Make Kindness The Norm. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness.

Why Random Acts of Kindness Matter to Your Well-being. (2017, November 16). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-nourishment/201711/why-random-acts-kindness-matter-your-well-being.

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

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I turned forty this year. That is a big milestone to celebrate and yet I did nothing except manage to stay alive 14,600 days in a row. Nevertheless, the fact that forty came for me and I am somewhat excited means that this milestone deserves a celebration. I grew up with a dad in the Air Force, and we moved every four years or less. My spouse is an Air Force civilian and we’ve spent his career calling different places in the US and around the world home. This means that my friends are scattered all over the world. Gathering them together for a celebration would have been impossible.

 Last year I took on the “Kindness Boomerang” book as my resolution. It may be the only resolution I have kept my entire life. The book supplies an idea for a kind act and a quote for every day of the year. Even if I was unable to complete the suggested act, I still found inspiration in the daily quotes such as:

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions.” Amelia Earhart

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can so something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” Edward Everett Hale

I combined social media and the book and found a way to celebrate with my friends all over for forty days! I asked all my Facebook friends to sign up for a day to share a small act of kindness for 40 days leading up to my birthday. The response was overwhelming. Many friends responded, and for those 40 days shared their kind act on our Facebook group. We covered some distance. We had participants in all corners of Ohio, 19 other states and covering the globe in Germany, Japan, Italy, Finland, and Spain. We had a lot of fun, strengthened connections and learned a few things along the way.

Health benefits from being kind?

Do you want more energy or to feel happier? Raise your hand if you want to live longer! Are you looking to decrease feelings of depression or anxiety? Be kind!!

Research proves kindness is good for health. About half of the participants in a research study reported that they felt stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed, with increased feelings of self-worth.

People who practice kindness regularly have 23% less cortisol, (the stress hormone) than the average population. A 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that generous people are happiest overall. There are many other health benefits of being kind; lower blood pressure, reduced pain and increased positivity.

Next post we cover lessons learned about opportunities for kindness, the impact of small acts and my final thoughts on the project.


Wahba, O. (2017). Kindness boomerang: how to save the world (and yourself) through 365 daily acts. New York: Flatiron Books.

Harvard Health Publishing. (2019). Giving thanks can make you happier. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier.

Make Kindness The Norm. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness.

Why Random Acts of Kindness Matter to Your Well-being. (2017, November 16). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-nourishment/201711/why-random-acts-kindness-matter-your-well-being.

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

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smilies-1607163_1920The best things in life really are free.  It doesn’t cost a dime to be kind, to be patient, or to be positive. As we go through our days in a rush, it is easy to see the negative in situations. Yet, according to the National Institute of Health, research shows that having a positive outlook can benefit your physical and emotional wellness.

Be patient with yourself and with others. According to a study by Gardner, Lally, and Wardle, it can take up to ten weeks to build a new habit. Their research shows that you can build a habit, by teaching yourself to do an action after a stimulus, just like washing your hands after using the restroom. They suggest the following template for changing behavior.

A tool for patients to make a new healthy habit

  1. Decide on a goal that you would like to achieve for your health.
  2. Choose a simple action that will get you towards your goal which you can do on a daily basis.
  3. Plan when and where you will do your chosen action. Be consistent: choose a time and place that you encounter every day of the week.
  4. Every time you encounter that time and place, do the action.
  5. It will get easier with time, and within 10 weeks you should find you are doing it automatically without even having to think about it.
  6. Congratulations, you’ve made a healthy habit!

For example:

  • My goal is to stay positive while I am shopping.
  • My plan is to remain calm while shopping during this hectic season.
  • In the aisles and lines, I will smile and speak nicely to those I encounter.

How can you become more patient, show more forgiveness, and become more kind?  You can build a habit of a more positive outlook by practicing often. By practicing, you will begin to build a more positive mindset.  Here are some ideas for you to try:peru-641632_640

  • Take time each day for small, simple pleasures.
  • Hold the door, give up your seat or let someone go in front of you.
  • Send someone a note of ‘thanks.’
  • Compliment someone (a stranger, a co-worker, your child, your spouse, a family member).
  • Wait your turn. Don’t shove.  Just take a deep breath and wait.
  • Smile at those you see in the store aisles or in that very long line at the register.
  • Help someone with a small task.
  • Pick up litter when you see it.
  • Shovel someone’s drive or scrape the ice from someone’s windows.
  • Stand up for injustice. Speak out.
  • Visit the elderly (a neighbor or a nursing home).  Ask them to share some memories with you.
  • Hug someone.
  • Spend time with people who make you feel better about yourself.
  • Build a “positive” display in your home or office.  Items should include memories and accomplishments that help you remember happy times.

Remember, it doesn’t cost anything to take a deep breath and stay kind.  Like Ghandi, you must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Written by: Jami Dellifield, Extension Educator, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences, Hardin County

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Ohio State University, Family and Consumer Sciences, Washington County


Ohio Department of Education https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Other-Resources/News/Know!-To-Practice-Kindness

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Workforce Management Office http://www.wfm.noaa.gov/workplace/EffectivePresentation_Handout_2.pdf 

National Institutes of health, US Dept. of health and Human Services https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/08/positive-emotions-your-health

Gardner, B., Lally, P., & Wardle, J. (2012). Making health habitual: the psychology of “habit-formation” and general practice. The British Journal of General Practice62(605), 664–666. http://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp12X659466; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/


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While on a recent family vacation in another state, my sister ended up in the Emergency Department at a hospital. She had multiple fractures in her foot and ended up in a cast up to her knee. This injury was the result of her long term Type 1 Diabetes. She recently had a heart stent put in and had been walking about a mile a day – for her heart health. Little did she know that she had multiple fractures in her foot. Now it made sense that her foot swelled so much each evening.

This experience showed us the kindness of strangers that I want to share. We experienced several random acts of kindness during this time. Research shows that random acts of kindness and generosity increase happiness in the giver. The medical staff fit her with crutches and instructed her to keep weight off her foot. This sounds like an easy task but it can be challenging to maneuver crutches. She was able to get around but still struggled with the crutches.


The next day she wanted to sit at the pool by the beach to watch family members parasail. If you are mobile, this is easy, just walk in and sit by the pool. It isn’t so easy if you are on crutches. But…. we experienced another act of kindness – a little boy (approximately 10 years old) stood there holding the gate until my sister could get in. A puddle of dirty pool water was inside the gate; his sister saw it, took her towel, and dried the cement so that Debbie didn’t get her cast wet. I looked at the mother and said she doesn’t have to do that with her towel – their mother said, “that’s ok” and let her do it. I was so touched that they knew the importance of being kind to a stranger. Someone in their family taught them to think of others.

Another instance we experienced included having a Physical Therapist Assistant ask if we needed help with the crutches as my sister made her way to the restroom on our drive home. She said the crutches are not the right height for her and asked if we wanted her to adjust them so that they fit. We said, “of course, we need all the help we can get” and she sat down on a bench, took the crutches and adjusted them on the spot. This made it so much easier to maneuver. We told the PT Assistant thanks for asking and she said sometimes she isn’t sure if she should interfere – we told her, yes! Her act of kindness helped us and we were grateful.

Another act of kindness included people holding the doors open as we struggled to move around with the crutches. This happened many times over our last few days of vacation.

Why is it important to share these experiences? As parents or grandparents, you can foster kindness in children. This short YouTube video featuring Dr. Christine Carter, “Raising Kind Kids” from Greater Good Science Center UC Berkeley shares a few key suggestions to encourage kids to be kind.

Are you ready to experience happiness by giving to others? Take this “Random Acts of Kindness” Challenge by doing 5 random acts in one day. Record how you feel and comment on their page. Another fun option is to pass out these Smile Cards. Complete an act of kindness, leave the Smile Card and keep the spirit going!

What are you waiting for? Try kindness today!

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu


Breines, J., Three Strategies for Bringing More Kindness into Your Life, retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_strategies_for_bringing_more_kindness_into_your_life

Carter, C., Raising Kind Kids, Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley, YouTube retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/video/item/raising_kind_kids

Random Acts of Kindness Challenge, Greater Good in Action, University of California – Berkeley’s Greater Good Center, retrieved from: UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.  http://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/random_acts_of_kindness

Smile Cards, KindSpring.org retrieved from: http://www.kindspring.org/smilecards/




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Diversity is a word you hear often – “we need more diversity in the workforce,” or “we live in a diverse community.” But what does this really mean? The Oxford Dictionaries Online states that some key words of diversity include difference, variety, and variable. Diversity refers to those human differences that make us unique and set up apart from others. Diversity can include differences in skin color, personality, language, and much more.

Any exploration of diversity should start by looking inward and examining our first judgments about others who are different from us. Exploring diversity in our world is a way to expand and help us see a fuller picture of those around us.

As we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 19, 2015, we need to ask ourselves “What am I actively doing to promote the courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that defined Dr. King’s spirit and energy?” “What am I doing to promote and encourage diversity?”

What quotes will inspire you?

Think about and practice quotes which will encourage you to promote diversity. In the words of M. Scott Peck, “Share our similarities, celebrate our differences.” Senator Edward Kennedy said “What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.” “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength,” according to Maya Angelou. Yuri Kochiyama knew what he was talking about when he said “Don’t become too narrow. Live fully. Meet all kinds of people. You’ll learn something from everyone. Follow what you feel in your heart.”

Did you know?

  • According to the Human Genome Project, people are more than 99.9 percent identical at the DNA level.
  • According to smartplanet.com, the top most diverse cities in 2011 were found in California followed by Washington, D.C., and New York City.
  • Youth with disabilities are among with poorest and most marginalized of the world’s young people. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates 98 percent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school, and 99 percent of girls with disabilities are illiterate.
  • The hunger relief organization Feeding America tells us that one in every six people in the United States is hungry every day.

What are some important questions to ask and discuss?

  • How do you define diversity?
  • How did you form your definition of diversity?
  • Why is diversity important to you and your future?
  • Why is it important to recognize the similarities and differences we have with others?
  • How have you actively show sensitivity to those with disabilities?
  • In what other ways do you think your life is different from someone your age but living in a different part of your community or United States?
  • How might you handle another person’s views on politics or a controversial topic that differs from your own?
  • What does equality mean to you?

Where can I find some resources on Diversity?

What’s one final thought about Diversity?

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Remember, we can all keep that dream alive within ourselves, our families and our communities. Continue to dream because diversity is the source of our strength!

Written by: Janet Wasko Myers, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Ohio State University Extension, Madison County, myers.31@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu


Diversity: The Source of Our Strength, Ohio 4-H Project Book 372, The Ohio State University Extension, http://estore.osu-extension.org/ or available through your local OSU Extension office.



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The week of February 13 – 19 is celebrated as Random Acts of Kindness week.  From paying for food for the car behind you in thefast food drive through to shoveling snow from someone’s driveway, to making a favorite dessert for someone unexpectedly are just examples of how people share Random Acts of Kindness every day.  It is important to carry out your acts of kindness withoutexpecting anything in return.

It truly can be a win/win/win situation. The person you are being kind to benefits through your help. You feel good for having helped someone. And the world is a better place through your kindness.

In celebration of Random Acts of Kindness week, February 13 – 19, Ohio State University Extension Live Healthy, Live Well Blog, will be awarding a $25 gift card to a random participant for sharing a Random Act of Kindness they have performed or been a recipient of.  Submit your stories to shuster.24@osu.edu with Random Acts of Kindness in the subject line of your email and your story in the body of the email.

All participants must be a resident of the United States, 18 years of age or older with a valid email address.  All participants agree to the publication of their name and story with other followers of our Live Healthy, Live Well Blog site.  Winner will be notified via email on Monday, February 20th prior to publication of their Random Acts of Kindness story.

Let’s make “Kindness” contagious by sharing random acts of kindness on a daily basis.

Writer: Cindy Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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