We don’t know about you but we’ve been doing our best to expel the bad juju of 2020 and leave it in our dust. This means creating positive energy and prioritizing our mental health. Science shows us one thing that definitely works is random acts of kindness #RAKing. It’s true! Studies show that carrying out small acts of kindness creates a “helpers high” which is good for our brains. It all comes down to chemicals, specifically: dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.
Oxytocin, a.k.a “the love hormone” is important in creating social bonds and forming relationships. It helps to create trust as well. Carrying out random acts of kindness releases oxytocin into our brains which lowers stress, lowers your blood pressure, and connects you to the person/community you are helping.
Dopamine is a feel good transmitter that is also released into your brain during a random act of kindness. It’s what makes you feel good and euphoric and we know we could all use a little more of that in 2021.
Being kind can also lead to an increase in serotonin which stabilizes our moods, feelings of well-being, and happiness. It’s a complex and extremely important neurotransmitter.
Judith Orloff MD says kindness and generosity lead to a better life full of positive energy: “Generosity accelerates the free flow of everything positive in your life. Of course, when it comes to finances, a good job, smart investments, and saving wisely are important. But beyond these essentials, the secret is to be generous, whatever your net worth.”
Beyond all the benefits a random act of kindness has on us, spreading kindness benefits our communities and people we love! You never know how a simple gesture could turn around someone’s day. Get those good chemicals flowing and make someone smile today by sending them an anonymous RAK gift box!
Let's send 2020 out in style. Here are our top 10 random acts of kindness ideas to set 2021 up to be our best and kindest year yet.
1. Send someone a thank you note.
Put a smile on someone’s face. A thank you note is a simple gesture to show someone that you appreciate them. Whether you are thanking a family member for helping you move or a friend, just for being a great friend, it’s sure to brighten their day! And who doesn’t love getting something in the mail that isn’t a bill!?
2. Buy coffee for the person in line behind you.
The holiday season is so busy for so many of us. A little surprise like this can make a stranger’s day! It’s a random act of kindness that can keep on giving because oftentimes, it will encourage them to pass it on, creating a chain reaction of kindness. Talk about RAK-ing the planet!
3. Call an old friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Sometimes we all get so caught up in our day to day life that we forget to reach out to our loved ones. The holiday season is a perfect time to reconnect with someone you love but who you might not have spoken to in a while.
4. Donate food to a food pantry.
Due to so many factors, including the current pandemic, it is expected that over 50 million Americans are facing food insecurity in 2020. Find a food pantry in your area to help these families. Food pantries are typically looking for foods like whole grain pasta & rice, canned vegetables, canned soup, canned fish, and peanut butter.
5. Compliment a stranger.
If you think something positive about a stranger, share it! Some compliments you can give to a stranger are:
- “You’re smile is contagious!”
- “That color looks really great on you!”
- “I’ve learned so much from speaking with you!”
6. Put coins in an expiring parking meter.
We’ve all been there. We forget to top up the meter and get back to our cars to find a ticket on the windshield. Look out for a stranger and put some coins into a parking meter to help them avoid this fate.
7. Tip a little extra!
It’s been a strange year for businesses and bars and restaurants have suffered a lot! Whether you are getting take-out or safely dining in, bump up that tip percentage and show appreciation for your server or bartender who has surely seen a decline in their income this year.
8. Find a pen pal at a nursing home
Any other year, we’d encourage you to visit a nursing home, but 2020 is not just any year. A safe way to connect with a senior citizen this year is to become pen pals. Plenty of nursing homes are encouraging people to send letters to their residents and making it so you can find someone you share interests with!
9. Donate blood
If you’re not squeamish around needles, this is a great random act of kindness gifts. The need is always great and you are truly making a difference in someone’s life.
10. Scrape ice off a neighbors car
Imagine how you would feel if you came out to your car on your way to work and saw the ice was already scraped off of your car’s windshield. It would feel good right? You can give that feeling to your neighbor with this kind gesture.
- Sign up to be an Anonymous RAK donor or nominate someone they know to receive a RAK.
Simple acts of kindness go a long way every day, but even more so during this time when millions of Americans are unemployed and businesses have been heavily affected by the pandemic. Here are simple random acts of kindness you can do this spring:
1. Donate to your food bank
Springtime is when we typically start going to farmer's markets or food festivals. However, this year, more and more families line up at food banks instead due to job loss. To help Americans who are struggling to put food on the table during this pandemic, you can donate to a local food bank in your area.
Feeding America has an extensive list of places where you can donate. Don't know what to give? It is advisable to donate non-perishable goods such as canned soup, rice, pasta, and similar items. Your pantry may have enough items there that you can bring to your local food bank. Some foodbanks also accept personal care, household items, and monetary donations.
2. Support or set up a GoFundMe campaign
Skip spending on that new Prada outfit and support or set up your own GoFundMe instead. Who needs a new pair of designer clothes when you are mostly at home anyway? This simple act of kindness can help many lives who have been affected by Covid-19.
Whether for a friend who was hospitalized, a neighbor who needs financial assistance, or people who lost their jobs because of the present crisis, GoFundMe campaigns have been effective in helping thousands of people. You can search for existing campaigns or set up your campaign, share it on social media and other communication platforms, and receive donations.
What's good about this random act of kindness is you can do this in the comforts of your own home.
3. Send a RAK box to someone
Surprise your family, friend, or even a stranger with a RAK box! You can put sweet treats (because who doesn’t need one right now?), hand-written or customized positive quotes, or a gift card for a local business by the recipient’s place.
Fill the RAK box with whatever you think your friend or family will appreciate receiving during this time or whatever will show them how much you care about them.
As flowers start to bloom in spring, so also do people begin feeling hopeful to start anew.
Your simple random acts of kindness can do so much more than what you can imagine. As the old adage goes, "A little goes a long way."
We can't wait to hear about your RAK stories! Share them with us in the comments section or tag us in your photos!
Covid-19 has challenged our generation in ways we have never imagined. While some people still have to go to work, most of us are helping contain the virus by staying at home and practicing social distancing. Being in quarantine doesn’t mean we should stop spreading random acts of kindness though! If anything, it’s when we need it the most.
We thought of simple random acts of kindness you can do for your family, friends, and community during this time of quarantine:
1. Thank those who are still working that you know or encounter day to day
Whether it’s a doctor, a delivery staff, the cashier at the grocery, or the customer representative on the phone, smile and thank them! We need to let them know that we are thankful that they’re working in the frontlines so we can have a more comfortable quarantine life.
2. Catch up with friends and family
Everyone’s anxious during this time, so a simple call or text to make sure your family or friend is doing well can make a big difference. Your extroverted friends are probably suffering from all the isolation so make sure to check up on them!
3. Support your local restaurants buy buying a gift card for later use
Local restaurants and shops have taken the brunt of the recent shutdowns in local communities. Buying a gift card from them and encouraging friends to do so as well will go a long way.
It might seem small, but if more people do it, your favorite restaurant might just stay afloat and survive this pandemic. If you also opt for delivery or take-out, choose the local places and not the chain restaurants.
4. Rate your favorite local shops or restaurants on Yelp and other rating sites
This is a very simple random act of kindness you can do that won’t cost you a dime, but can help struggling local businesses in the long run.
5. Foster a pet if you can
Animal shelters need help in fostering pets as they were also affected by the closing of “non-essential” establishments. Fostering a pet doesn’t only help the pet, it has benefits for you, too, especially during this time of isolation and social distancing.
6. Secretly leave a treat or note offering help in your neighbor’s mailbox
It can be as simple as baked goods or a hand sanitizer, your neighbor will appreciate the surprise. You can also leave a note in your neighbor’s mailboxes offering help such as getting the groceries on behalf of an elderly neighbor or a time to chat if they need anyone to talk to.
Just don’t forget to make sure your hands are clean before you leave anything in their mailbox!
Which among these simple random acts of kindness will you do to RAK this Covid-19 quarantine away? And how are you staying sane while in quarantine? Let us know in the comments!
We at RAK Experience believe there are so many effortless random acts of kindness you can do everyday for anyone. But since March 8th is International Women’s Day, we should go out of our way to show random acts of kindness to the women in our lives that we love and inspire us the most!
Doing random acts of kindness on this day will become extra special for your favorite ladies because they don’t really expect much on March 8th (except in certain European countries where it’s a big deal!). So why not step up your International Women’s Day greetings and do any of these three ways that you can RAK your favorite ladies on this special day.
1. Celebrate this day like how our friends in the Czech Republic typically do: surprise your favorite ladies with a flower or a box of chocolates (or both!)
As we have mentioned earlier, certain European countries celebrate March 8th at a different level than we do here in the US. In the Czech Republic, it’s almost like Valentine’s Day! Men give flowers to their mom, sisters, friends, and colleagues. Many companies have something special for female employees. In Berlin, they have recently announced March 8th as a public holiday!
Since it’s not as widely celebrated in the US, the flowers won’t be as expensive as on Valentine’s Day. Here’s a great tutorial on how to wrap flowers individually without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for a box for your homemade chocolates, why not try our RAK favor box?
2. Mail them a card and write why they’re one of your favorite ladies in the world
People typically expect to get cards on Christmas, birthday, or mo thers’ day, but International Women’s Day? Nah-uh. No one really expects it, unless, again, you’re from Europe!
Make this random act of kindness extra special by writing what makes the recipient inspiring. Maybe even tell them why for you, they’re better than Frida Kahlo, braver than Rosa Parks, or funnier than Ellen Degeneres. Think long and hard why you value their presence in your life and write it down.
Too busy to go to the post office? It’s 2020 and now you can send stamped mail without getting out of your chair! We like using Postable to send printed cards with “handwritten” messages. You can customize their cards and use your own pictures or just choose from their huge library of designs. Postable’s cards are recycled so you’re also doing an act of kindness for the earth!
3. Think of their “quotable quote” and share it on social media
When you spend so much time with someone, you can’t help but notice certain recurring statements from your close friends and family. It doesn’t have to be deep and meaningful. It can be something as silly as:
“‘I don’t know’ is not an answer!”
You can even quickly design it on Canva to make it look like it’s an actual inspirational quote before posting and tagging her on social media.
There’s a lot more random acts of kindness you can do on March 8th, but however you decide to celebrate your favorite ladies in the world, make sure to take a photo/video and tag us!written” messages. You can customize their cards and use your own pictures or just choose from their huge library of designs. Postable’s cards are recycled so you’re also doing an act of kindness for the earth!
It's Fall! For many of us #RAKStars, fall is a magical time full of leaves and presents and holidays and family. But some people, don't have an easy time with the changing of the seasons. Some people may suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or maybe they just don't have family close and so aren't looking forward to the holiday season. Whatever the reason, it's always a perfect time to RAK!
Random Acts of Kindness (we call them RAK's around here) are small acts that you can do to spread cheer and happiness. It's been scientifically proven that one Random Act of Kindness can spread cheer exponentially. So we encourage you to pick a RAK from the list below and do at least one a week through December. You'll be surprised how much this will lift your spirits and those of your friends, neighbors, and hopefully a few strangers too!
This one is good for early fall. Do you have a neighbor who works all the time? Or maybe there's an older neighbor who has a hard time doing their yard work themself. Go introduce yourself and let them know you would like to rake their yard. It's a #RakeRAK
Call three friends and ask everyone to look in their cupboards. We guarantee between the four of you, you can find 10 to 20 cans of perfectly good food that you aren't using. Make sure the cans of food aren't past their expiration date. Gather your "food drive" items and donate to a local shelter. You can find a local food pantry by visiting FeedingAmerica.org. This is a national website that will help you find a food pantry near you that accepts canned food donations.
BONUS: You and your friends can sign up to volunteer for a shift to help the shelter out.
You know that park or stretch of road you like to walk, it's a beautiful space but trash tends to accumulate in public spaces. Grab a pair of gloves and a trash bag and go for a walk in your favorite public space. Did you know there's actually a name for this? It's called Plogging! And apparently it's good for your glutes!
Isn't it fun to get a real letter in the mail! One that's not a bill or a piece of junk mail? Grab a piece of paper and a pen and take 10 minutes to write a letter to a friend. They don't have to live far away. You can even send a letter to a friend that lives down the block. This will cost one stamp which is currently 55¢. You can check current postal rates on USPS.com
This is similar to writing a letter to a friend but it's an anonymous happy note. You can cut a piece of paper up into small 4 x 4 blocks. We like to use a piece of brightly colored paper but even lined notepaper will work. Carry these small pieces of paper around with you and whenever you see someone who looks like they need a RAK you can write a short note and leave it for them. Sometimes we like to leave notes on parked cars too. Here are some potential RAK Notes phrases to get you started...
We all love our Grandma's (and Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandpa's, etc) but we don't always talk to them enough. Especially if we don't happen to live in the same city. Pick up the phone and call that family member you haven't seen or talked to in over a month.
You know how you end up stalking people on social media? You don't know this person at all or maybe they are a friend of a friend but you love their life and all their posts. Yeah, that person. Write a genuine compliment to them on their next Insta Post, Facebook Post, Tweet, whatever. Sometimes it's as simple as letting them know that you love their content. Ex. Your pictures make me so happy! Thank you for always brightening my day.
Go through your library at home and Marie Kondo your books. Take every book that doesn't "spark joy" and donate it to your local library. You can also add these to your local Little Free Library if there's one in your neighborhood.
BONUS RAK: If you don't have a Little Free Library close to you, build one!
We all have that friend. The one who is doing amazing things with their life. They are an artist, or a community advocate, or they are raising three amazing kids! Whatever your friend is doing we have found that those amazing friends often don't think that what they are doing is all that amazing. Reach out to your friend and tell them how amazing you think they are. You can do this in a social post, on the phone, or even reach out to your local news station to share their story. Often recognition for a job well done can be one of the best RAK's of all.
This is the easiest RAK of all! And brings immediate happiness to you and all around you. Smile as you walk down the street. Smile at strangers, at the barista when you're picking up your coffee. Smile at a baby and the cute puppy walking down the street. Sometimes we even catch ourselves smiling at the trees! A smile is much more powerful than you think. Did you know that a smile can actually "trick your brain into happiness?" It's true! You can read up on the science here.
Whatever Random Act of Kindness you decide to do this fall, we hope you have a great time with it! RAK's brighten our days and we want them to brighten yours too.
Have you been RAK'd or have a great story of RAK'ing someone else? Share your story with us and we'll add it to RAK wall. You can submit your story here.