Paying it forward by doing at least one random act of kindness to a stranger provides the bereaved with a positive outlet to deal with an overwhelming grief and loss. It’s also a great way to spread goodwill to everyone, “setting the world in the right direction”, as Martin Kornfeld puts it.
You don’t have to do something extravagant. Something as simple as opening the car door for someone, or making a new friend, can already do wonders. But if you want to go the extra mile, here are a few great ideas to get you started:
• Visit an animal shelter – Humans are not the only ones who can benefit from one random act of kindness. Even our four-legged friends can use some of that help you’re willing to offer for the day. Visit an animal shelter and volunteer to help out with feeding, walking and playing with the animals, even just for an hour a week.
Being around pets can also do wonders to your health and well-being. For starters, pets can reduce stress and combat depression, thus making you live longer. So it’s a win-win situation: You get to help these poor little critters cope with loneliness while you add years to your life.
• Donate toiletries and clothes to the homeless – The things we often take for granted can be luxury to those who barely have access to them. These things can be in a form of a hot shower, deodorant, shampoo and a pair of gloves. By packing up toiletries (and maybe throwing in a pair of warm gloves and socks while you’re at it), and donating it to a homeless shelter, you are already letting someone know that they matter. This simple act of kindness may even inspire one homeless person to change his or her life for the better.
• Hug someone today – Sometimes, it only takes a simple gesture to spread goodwill and kindness to the whole world. Whether it’s making someone better after losing a job or a loved one, or just simply saying “I care”, giving a hug can make a person’s day a whole lot better. And it relieves stress too!