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Tiny ways to make a big difference

Taking just a few minutes each day to do something kind can make a world of difference, not just for the person receiving the help, but for you as well. It also can inspire others to “pay it forward.” The folks at randomactsofkindness.org call it “The Ripple Effect.” The ripple effect starts with one. One person to hold open a door. One person to leave a note on someone’s car complimenting their awesome parking skills. One person to write a thank you letter to a teacher. One person to be a spark of kindness when another really needs it.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Leave a friendly note for someone, just because.
  • Check in on a neighbor living alone.
  • Drop some cookies by your local police or fire department.
  • Invite a harried-looking shopper to move ahead of you in the check-out line.
  • Write and mail a letter to an old friend.
  • Pay the toll/parking fee for the vehicle behind you.
  • Make a point to smile and personally greet everyone you see for a whole day.
  • Thank a veteran for their service with a small gift.
  • Offer a tired fellow passenger your seat on the bus.
  • Leave a big tip with a friendly note on your bill.
  • Pay off a layaway item for a stranger at a department store.
  • Donate your long hair.
  • Donate blood.

It’s about time.

Those little acts of kindness may just give us more time in our day, as well. A recent study shows that helping others boosts our sense of personal competence and efficiency, which in turn stretches out time in our minds. The study’s lead researcher, Cassie Mogilner of the University of Pennsylvania, says that ultimately, giving time makes people more willing to commit to future engagements despite their busy schedules. The more you feel you’ve done with your time, the more time you’ll feel you have.

Reach out and check in

Reach out to your neighbors, near and far, tos how you care and strengthen your community connections.

Add service to your birthday celebration

Make volunteering a part of your birthday celebration this year - and make it a special day for someone in need.