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What the world needs now, is more love, sweet love. It’s undeniable, as we’re bombarded by world news of hate-fueled terror attacks, discrimination, and injustice. The only remedy for such darkness has and always will be to bring more light into the world through the practice of love and kindness.
Luckily, there are plenty of people doing such good work—acts of kindness, random and targeted, large and small. Let them inspire you to take your yoga off the mat, rediscover the kindergarten spirit of Valentine’s Day (remember when you distributed love notes to every single kid in the class?) this year, and do something to brighten a stranger’s day. Everyday efforts like these can truly heal the world.
1. Surprise a stranger with a random act of generosity.
Last week, rapper Drake surprised shoppers at a Miami supermarket when he took to a megaphone and announced that he was paying for all of their groceries. He reportedly spent $50,000 and stopped to take selfies with patrons and the store’s owner. While we can’t all share on that scale, don’t get stuck thinking you can’t make a difference, says Susan Verde, a yoga and mindfulness expert and author of I Am Peace. “One little act of generosity has a ripple effect, ” she says. Think how simply paying for something as small as a stranger’s coffee, parking, or bus fare could brighten their day.
2. Kick off your own kindness campaign.
After being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor last year, Canadian teen Becca Shofield considered her bucket list. One aspiration—initiate “a mass act of kindness.” She asked her Facebook friends to perform random acts of kindness and post about their good deeds using the hashtag #BeccaToldMeTo. Her appeal went viral, with thousands of people worldwide posting notes on social media about their everyday acts of goodness from cleaning snow off a colleague’s car to calling a family member you don’t talk to often enough just to say ‘I love you.’ Becca has been inspired by such stories, claiming they’re what keep her going. Her campaign received recognition from the country’s Prime Minister and the Canada 150 Senate Medal and is now chronicled in the book #BeccaToldMeToo: Spreading Kindness One Hashtag at a Time. Join Becca’s movement or create your own rallying your friends and followers to do something that you think could make a difference.
3. Spread kindness exponentially with these digital chain letters.
Stacy Stahl of St. Louis is a yogi and kind soul. She says her practice—“such a heart opener literally and figuratively” for her—has absolutely influenced her sense of community and connection. It reminds her of what matters—kindness, intention, openness with ourselves and the world around us, and the ability to see the beauty in everything.
To continue her good work, Stahl recently founded, letssayitforward.com, a passion project that aims to encourage people to spread love and kindness. Users can choose from over 50 digital cards, designed by independent artists who donated their time to the project, to send their own message with. The card is emailed “anonymously,” and after your friend reads your message, they have the opportunity to unlock the sender’s name by either “saying it forward” (sending a card to someone else) or donating to a charity of their choice. After choosing one of these options, their sender’s name is revealed, a little incentivization to continue the kindness.
The project is 100% charitable, and donations go straight to the organizations via a third-party donation processor. As for the causes, Stahl chose to work with 12 nonprofits in a variety of categories, including America’s VetDogs, Pencils of Promise, Out in Tech, Planned Parenthood, and Water.org.