I wanted to write about being kinder to others to remind myself and others because so many of us carry around personal baggage on a daily basis that affects our moods and impacts our interactions with others. And while we don’t have control over what others do, we do have control over our own actions, how we deal with the cards we’ve been dealt and how we interact with others.

It is not often apparent to the naked eye the struggles that someone is facing internally. The bottom line is to treat everyone with kindness because you just don’t know what someone is dealing with on any given day. You could really make a difference in someone’s life with a simple gesture of support or kindness.

Why should we be kinder? Well, it makes us happier for one. It reduces stress and anxiety. Research suggests that kind people are often healthier and live longer. It’s calming. And it’s the right thing to do. I believe kindness is contagious. Kind acts encourage other kind acts.

Kindness is a choice. So, choose it. How can you be kinder? Here are some simple things each of us can do in and out of the office. (And don’t forget to always assume good intent).

  1. Smile even when you aren’t happy. Studies have shown that the act of smiling can trick your brain into happiness.
  2. Hold the door open for someone
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff – let it go
  4. Offer a hug or gesture of affection to someone who needs it
  5. Listen more versus talk
  6. Go out of your way to invite someone new into your friend circle
  7. Thank people who have helped you
  8. Give more compliments
  9.  Keep a gratitude journal and write down for what you are most thankful
  10. Reach out to someone you know needs help
  11. Forgive someone who hurt you
  12. Regularly say thank you and please
  13. Pay for the coffee for person behind you in line
  14. Drive with kindness
  15. Let someone in a rush go ahead of you at the checkout line
  16. Say “I love you” more often to your family and friends
  17. Offer to help an overwhelmed co-worker
  18. Hold the elevator open for someone
  19. Help the homeless
  20. Send thank you notes just because
  21. Empty the dishwasher/make the bed/take out the trash
  22. Tip generously
  23. Say hello to strangers
  24. Offer to babysit a friend’s child so they can have a night out
  25. Be nice to people you dislike – cut them slack and remember the phrase “kill them with kindness”
  26. Make a hard copy of a photo you have and send to the person in it just because
  27. Get your pet certified to be an emotional support animal and bring your pet to hospitals and nursing homes
  28. Visit loved ones more in person – especially elderly ones
  29. Give away books you love to those you love
  30. Think before you speak
  31. Don’t gossip and don’t be a mean girl
  32. Do what you say you’re going to do (when you say you’re going to do it)
  33. Respond to emails, texts and phone calls (especially from loved ones) and make the effort to reach out to those in your life you haven’t spoken to in awhile
  34. Help someone cross the street
  35. Pick up litter even if it’s not yours (and recycle!)
  36. Call your parents/grandparents more
  37. Say “bless you” or your preferred term when someone sneezes
  38. Gift something meaningful to someone
  39. Donate and/or volunteer for your favorite charity
  40. Give up your seat to someone who needs it

I’d like to leave you with a final thought to savor the everyday moments that make you happy in order to become a kinder person. Relishing the little things, such as a sunny day, when your dog finally catches a Frisbee, eating an ice cream sandwich (if you’re lactose intolerant find a suitable non-dairy alternative) or staring at the flowers in your garden, teaches you to be more grateful and appreciative of what you have, especially when things go wrong, and as a result, you may find yourself being kinder to others. Go with that feeling – there’s no such thing as having too much kindness. If each of us does one kind act each day, imagine what we can accomplish? So let’s challenge each other to be kinder and nicer, and let’s start right now.