Oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin can all increase with acts of thoughtfulness, so every time you go out of your way to help someone in need, you are actually improving your health and wellness. The key, however, is in the repetition.
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So, when you can make being kind a habit, something you do every day, you will be able to reach a new kind of community-mindedness that has a doubly positive effect back in your direction.
Let the selections below just be the start of positive action. Try to find more and more than just these 20 ways to be helpful to those around you. After a while, it’ll be so habitual, you won’t even realize it—but you will start to look and feel much better from the inside out.
How You Can Help Someone Going Through a Hard Time
All you need to be a good neighbor, friend, or family member is a good heart and some time to share. Listed below are a few ways you can bring some sunshine back into someone’s life.
1. Listen to them
Sometimes all it takes is to be heard. So, if you have a friend that needs to unload, then grab a bottle of wine, head over to their place, and get ready to let them vent or be a shoulder to cry on.
Who knows, you may need the favor returned someday when you are going through a rough patch.
2. Have patience
We’re not always on our best behavior when there is some drama lurking around in our lives. Perhaps your friend or family member has just moved, or they have some job or medical worries on the horizon.
Either way, the best way to console a friend or family member when this is happening is to give them some breathing room.
3. Encourage them to talk
Some people can clam up when things go south. So, if your friend or family member has recently gone radio silent, why not pick up the phone and say hello?
Ask them how they are or ask them about their job, etc., and then listen for the clues. When you find the signs, try not to pry, but let them know it’s okay to talk if they feel inclined. Just remember your boundaries.
4. Call them
Relying on a weekly or monthly call can help anyone who is going through some junk. Don’t bring your problems to the conversations, just keep the stories lively and fun.
Talk about positive, healthy things so that for one phone call, all they hear is positivity. You’d be surprised how much that can uplift someone’s spirits.
5. Invite them on a hike
Exercise is good for the heart and the head! There’s just something about being outside, listening to the birds sing, feeling a soft breeze, and getting some good sunshine on your face that can pick you up and take you out of your head for a while.
Adversity doesn’t have to take over your whole life, so let nature be the guide for a short while.
6. Take them to yoga
There’s nothing better than a trip to the best yoga studio in town where you can sweat out all your frustrations, leaving them on the mat.
So, if you know someone who needs to replace some lousy energy with some good, clean energy, then go wring it all out from the inside out. Afterward, you can grab a coffee or tea and talk about how good life feels again.
7. Ask them how you can help
Maybe your friend’s problem is a bit bigger than one person can solve, but if you are trying to help them get through their sticky situation, then offer open-door assistance.
Maybe they can’t see the solution, but perhaps that is not what’s needed. Sometimes asking how you can help is enough to reframe a friend’s predicament.
8. Don’t be mean
What’s worse than going through a tough time? Facing adversity and having someone respond with cruelty.
Telling people how to improve their lives, personalities, or lifestyles is not going to help any situation—it will only make things worse and likely ruin your relationship. People don’t want mean people to be their friends, so don’t walk in and be that person.
9. Create a safe space in your home
While you may not be opening up your home as a living space, you can still open your home as a place where it feels safe, even if it’s only for an afternoon.
Buy their favorite tea or coffee, some goodies, and make sure you have an afternoon to spend chatting and listening.
10. Take them fishing
Whether you like hanging out on the water in the sun or on the ice when you fish, invite your friend to join you. If they are depressed or stuck in their house, don’t take no for an answer.
There’s not a lot of conversation when you fish, because the noise doesn’t help the outcome, so if you’re not too chatty yourself, this may be an ideal venue for you both.
Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness or Good Deeds
Practicing random acts of kindness to strangers and good deeds regularly becomes habitual pretty quick. Pretty soon, you’ll be leaving extra quarters in the laundry machine, parking meter, or doing any of the things listed below without even thinking.
11. Run their errands
Sometimes it’s challenging to feel ambitious, let alone mobile, especially when life hands you a bunch of lemons.
So, if you know someone who needs a little pick me up, then run a few errands for them—and maybe slip in a card that will put a smile on their face. Who knows, you might get a thank you note in return!
12. Walk their dog
Do you know someone who could use some help with their fur babies? You could offer to take their dog out with you on your morning walk or run or even run them to the vet.
Not only will you be helping your neighbor or friend, you’ll be extending that love to their pup as well.
13. Mow their lawn
If your neighbor is convalescing or off visiting their family this summer, why not just pop over the property line and mow their lawn while they’re gone.
It’ll take some extra time on your part, but a freshly mowed lawn makes it look like someone is still home. Plus, that keeps you and the rest of the neighborhood safe.
14. Shovel their driveway
If you can shovel your driveway, you can probably shovel someone else’s, too. But if you have a snowblower, then there’s nothing stopping you from helping out your elderly neighbor.
I tend to think if it was my parents in that situation, I would offer to be that person for them, so it’s a no-brainer taking care of someone else’s mom or dad.
15. Bring them flowers
If you can’t have flowers in your home, you can still buy flowers—just for someone else.
So, if some spring day comes along and you pass by some gorgeous bouquet, pick one up for someone else. If they’re not home, drop them off on the stoop and leave a fun surprise.
16. Bring them some dinner
If your neighbor is all alone and you conveniently made too much food for dinner, then take over a plate to share. Even if they don’t plan on eating it, at least they can shut their door knowing that you are right next door for them.
If you’re the kind of person that thinks food tastes better when you don’t have to make it, then consider helping out a neighbor once in a while.
17. Smile and say hello
It’s so easy to offer a bit of humanity to someone by offering a smile and a greeting. Don’t forget to do this for clerks in a store and your neighbors.
18. Drive-through coffee
If you practice the pay-it-forward mantra, then you’ll love the pay-it-backward mantra.
If there’s some space left on your holiday gift card, you could offer to buy the coffee order for the car behind you. Hopefully, the act catches on, and they continue to share the love.
19. Move behind in the grocery line
If you are standing in line at the register with your bi-monthly grocery order, but the person behind you has only a few items, why not let them get ahead of you in line?
After all the scanning and bagging that your order will take, you probably won’t notice the three minutes you lost for someone to have an easier day.
20. Don’t forget about yourself
While performing good deeds for people can put you in a peaceful state, don’t forget to take some self-care time for yourself as well.
Be kind to yourself. Give yourself more compliments every day. Take care of your body from the inside out. And when you look in the mirror—smile.
Kindness is Easy
If you are the kind of person who loves giving presents, then you already know how good it feels to make someone else smile. Just remember to give that same love back to yourself so that you, too, keep the happiness around you.