Sometimes it feels impossible to be kind and loving, don’t you think? We get so angry and frustrated at events happening in our lives that we cannot access that loving place inside of us. Instead, our eyes go from side to side as our fists clench and minds whirr with angry thoughts. Some of us even spew those thoughts out into the world with our talk and our actions.

Or sometimes we just don’t know what to do. We have a nagging feeling that we need to be doing something but we’re just not sure what.

When this happens, I always like to sit down and take a moment to reflect. I know that the best antidote to these feelings is to act loving even if I don’t feel very much like doing so. But sometimes I need a little more help – some prompts, ideas, things to get me going, shift my emotions.

I’ve come up with a list of actions I can take to show my care and my love. I thought I’d share them with you. Please share this list freely because there just can’t be too much kindness and love in the world.

  1. Make someone a cup of tea.
  2. Give a hug.
  3. Ask “How may I help you?”
  4. Listen to them carefully and without interrupting.
  5. Say “I’m sorry.”
  6. Be polite.
  7. Say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’
  8. Offer to carry a person’s bag.
  9. Buy a box of cookies and offer them around to strangers.
  10. Buy them a gift from the dollar store
  11. Help with a household chore.
  12. Make them a meal.
  13. Offer up your seat.
  14. Write them a letter.
  15. Tell them you wish you understood.
  16. Bring them ibruprofen for their headache.
  17. Invite them to play.
  18. Acknowledge and respect their feelings even if you feel they are not accurate/appropriate.
  19. Hold their hand.
  20. Smile.
  21. Buy them a small chocolate (but not if they’re on a diet. :-))
  22. Treat them to their favorite coffee.
  23. Surprise them with an unexpected visit or phone call.
  24. Give them a handwritten card.
  25. Gently wash and dress their cut/wound.
  26. Carry someone’s bags.
  27. Pick up some trash.
  28. Return a misplaced or lost item.
  29. Tell them about the best part of the day you just spent with them.
  30. Let them sleep.
  31. Offer them a drink of water.
  32. Wear or use a gift they gave you in their presence.
  33. Keep that sigh to yourself.
  34. Use a kind voice even if you have to fake it.
  35. Listen for the feelings behind the words.
  36. Put chocolate chips in their pancakes.
  37. Buy them some flowers.
  38. Run them a bath.
  39. Donate your unwanted items
  40. Send off a care package to the military.
  41. Share your homegrown vegetables.
  42. Give a new mom her own gift.
  43. Buy a stranger lunch.
  44. Pay for a strangers bridge toll.
  45. Let someone go first through a door.
  46. Hold a door open for someone.
  47. Respect someone’s wishes.
  48. Write Post-It notes with encouraging messages and leave them in library books.
  49. Write a thank you note.
  50. Leave some change at the coffee machine.
  51. Let people through in traffic.
  52. Hold up your hand in thanks when other drivers let you through.
  53. Use a compost bin and recycle as much as possible.
  54. Acknowledge someone else’s kindness to you.
  55. Leave a tip plus another dollar.
  56. Visit a sick friend.
  57. Babysit for free.
  58. Say ‘I love you’ with meaning.
  59. Tell them how wonderful they are and how happy you are to have them in your life.
  60. Pay a compliment.
  61. Leave your old magazines in waiting rooms.
  62. Volunteer.
  63. Write love notes and put them in their lunches.
  64. Go visit your parents. Tell them how much you appreciate them (or one thing about them you do appreciate ;-))
  65. Choose a book they might like and lend it to a friend.
  66. Let someone go ahead at the checkout.
  67. Share your knowledge with someone who needs it.
  68. Welcome new people to your neighborhood, school, club, etc.
  69. Send a copy of a photo to the person in it.
  70. Share herbs from your garden.
  71. Share a good recipe.
  72. Let someone cut in line at the movie theater.
  73. Donate your “read” books to the library.
  74. Express your empathy.
  75. Make someone else’s bed.
  76. Sing while you vacuum.
  77. Smile at every stranger at the mall.
  78. Be patient when you want to yell.
  79. Put change in an expiring meter.
  80. Buy a sandwich for the person asking for cash in front of the grocery store.
  81. Water someone’s drying/dying flowers.
  82. Take the garbage out for a friend.
  83. Take a rose to someone in the home for the elderly.
  84. Hold them while they cry.
  85. Give them a chocolate bandaid.
  86. Invite them over for scones and clotted cream.
  87. Tell me your idea in the comments section below. 🙂

There, just making that list makes me smile. What do actions do you like to take to show someone kindness or that you love them? Tell us in the comments.

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Anabel Jensen

President of Six Seconds and professor of education, Anabel Jensen, Ph.D., is a master teacher and a pioneer in emotional intelligence education. A two-time Federal Blue Ribbon winner for excellence in education, she was Executive Director of the Nueva School from 1983 to 1997 where she helped develop the Self-Science curriculum featured in Daniel Goleman’s 1995 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence.