Having been born and raised in Yankton, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else and I never have. Sheltered? Scared? You might think so. I’d say lucky or blessed. Honestly, I’ve never had the desire to leave because we live in a wonderful community.

Every time I’m out and about, I see acts of kindness scattered everywhere. I’ve seen people saying hello or smiling to each other, holding the door for another, helping an elder carry boxes into the recycle station, donating to various local organizations and supporting programs that benefit the community or our youth. I often see a “Letter to the Editor” in the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan where someone is thanking another for paying for their meal or shoveling snow off their sidewalk or another kind act.

There is an entire week designated to striving to perform random acts of kindness. Random Acts of Kindness Week is February 12-18, with Random Acts of Kindness Day falling every February 17th. The day Kindness Day first started in 1995 in Denver, Colorado and encourages performing kind gestures to others as a step toward making the world a better place.

What can kindness do?

Aside from making someone else’s day or bringing light to another’s gloomy perspective, being kind has several health benefits for you too! Research has shown that performing kind acts for others over time can help:

• Make you happier

• Make socially anxious people feel better

• Increase positive moods

• Increase self esteem

• Increase longevity

• Lower blood pressure

• Slow the aging process

• Create better relationships with others

• Make you more successful at work

• Increase your trustworthiness

• Lower your stress level

• Decrease depression

• Decrease pain by increasing your body’s natural painkillers endorphins,

• Inspire others to show kindness


How can you celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day or Week? It doesn’t have to involve a lot of time or money. A few kind words or a small gesture will do the trick to brighten up someone’s day and might just make it contagious enough to keep the warm gestures flowing.

Brushing the snow off your car while you’re waiting for it to warm up in the parking lot after work? Why not brush off your co-worker’s car too? It will only take a couple minutes. Hold the door for the person behind you. Wish everyone you see “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” and mean it. Did you ask the store clerk for assistance? Thank them for their help. With so many ways to show kindness, you’ll never run out of an excuse:

• Smile

• Be polite

• Be friendly to everyone you meet. Everyone is important.

• Compliment someone

• Receive great service? Tell their manager or supervisor

• Say thank you to those who help you

• Write a thank you note to those that really came through

• Take the time to teach someone who’s willing to learn

• Write a note to a friend, a past teacher, your boss or a mentor for their role in your life

• Tell another to “have a good day,” and really mean it

• Post anonymous sticky-notes with positive messages for others to find

• Leave quarters at the laundromat

• Leave pennies ‘face up’ where a child might find them

• Treat a friend to lunch

• Send an encouraging or uplifting text to someone

• Leave a big tip

• Compliment a well-behaved child in front of their parents

• Listen to someone when they need to talk. Put down your phone and really listen.

• Know someone who’s always on Facebook? Comment on their posts.

• Help others to see positivity in a situation

• Hold the elevator for someone

• Write someone a handwritten letter or note

• Invite someone to dinner, especially someone who lives alone

• Bring treats to your co-workers at work

• Stop at a child’s lemonade or Kool-Aid stand and buy a drink

• Call or visit a family member

• Send cards to hospitalized children. Find out how at www.cardsforhospitalizedkids.com

• Pay for someone else’s meal at a restaurant

• Pay for the meal behind you at a drive through

• Do someone for your significant other that he/she will really appreciate

• Pay for the person’s coffee behind you at the coffee shop

• Call or visit someone who is lonely

• Recently read a great book? Share it with others

• Leave a small, surprise gift for someone going through a ugh time

• Donate to a local organization that you care about

• Buy someone a cup of coffee or hot chocolate just because

• Tell those in your life how much they mean to you. Often. Hug them too.

• Let someone go in front of you in traffic or the grocery store line.

• Share extra coupons that you won’t use instead of letting them expire

• Volunteer your time when you are able

• Not an organ donor yet? Sign up to become one at www.organdonor.gov

• Encourage others to follow their dreams

• Thank our military by sending a card or letter through Operation Gratitude: www.operationgratitude.com

• Offer to babysit someone’s child(ren) for a couple hours to give them a break

• Know someone who is sick? Visit them if possible or deliver some homemade soup

• Find an article your friend or family member might like? Cut it out and send it to them.

• Is a loved one going through ongoing medical treatment? Write, call or visit them often.

• Donate soda can tabs to a local Ronald McDonald House. The charity receives funds from these.

• Read a story to or spend time with a child in your life

• Collect Box Tops from packages and donate to local schools

• Put a note in your child’s or spouse’s lunch

• Bad weather? Check in on an elderly neighbor

• Have magazines that you are finished reading? Pass them on to someone else who will enjoy them.

• Thank our police, city and county employees for their hard work in keeping the community safe.

• Be kind to yourself. Every day, write down 1-3 things that you are grateful for.

Every day is an Act of Kindness day

Kindness can’t be bought or packaged up to deliver to someone. Real kindness comes from the heart. If you incorporate just one kind act into each day, you’ll be amazed at the response you get and the way you’ll start to feel. You’ll start to become more aware of the positivity flowing right around you.

Taking the kindness initiative will likely have the rebound effect, following the same “treat others as you want to be treated” theory. Knowing that you could receive health benefits and receive kindness back, it’s hard not to be sold on being kind every day. We live in a wonderful community full of nice people. Imagine an entire world just a little kinder. It’s possible, with some effort, and it can happen every day. Let it start with you.