Ways to practice random acts of kindnessWant to make a friend’s day?

Surprise her.

Call her when she doesn’t expect it, leave a note in her cube, send her a really sweet tweet. Just do something out of the ordinary to show her how much her friendship means to you.

Want to REALLY make her day? Practice random acts of kindness. Mow her lawn. Help her paint her house. Leave a gift certificate for a spa in her desk drawer. Bake her favorite Mac & Cheese (shared by Cathie – thanks!), do her laundry (thanks Alison) or weed her garden (thanks Joan!).

It’s a great exercise actually. To get in the habit of going out of our way for a friend, or even a stranger. It’s the stuff ‘pay it forward’ is based on … your kindness inspires your friend, she passes it along to someone else, who pays it forward, an so on. It’s how things are supposed to be, right? I care about you and I want to make your life better. To quote Diane Warwick and Friends: “That’s what friends are for.”

Well,  with a little research, I found out that it’s actually more than just making her life better and/or easier. Practicing kindness is beneficial to your health. Numerous scientific studies show that acts of kindness result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental, like:

  • Helping contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders serious and minor, psychological and physical.
  • A rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act is often referred to as a “helper’s high,” involving physical sensations and the release of the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.
  • Stress-related health problems improve after performing kind acts. Helping reverses feelings of depression, supplies social contact, and decreases feelings of hostility and isolation that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc.
  • Helping can enhance our feelings of joyfulness, emotional resilience, and vigor, and can reduce the unhealthy sense of isolation.

So, today’s Month of Friendship ‘assignment’ is to practice random acts of kindness toward a friend(s). Do something kind and unexpected. Challenge yourself to carefully and thoughtfully identify a need or want that would make her happy. Be the kind of friend you’d love to have.

And, then experience the ‘euphoria’ of kindness. Feel the benefits yourself of being generous, considerate, a friend. Be a better friend, because life really is better together.

Share your random act of kindness story – what did you do for a friend? How did it make you feel? How did she respond?

Days 1-14 of our Month of Friendship:

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