It was the novelist Henry James who first gave the powerful advice to his nephew that “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind

Since then there has been countless Positive Psychology studies exploring benefits of kindness from a social, physical and mental health perspective. These show that, amongst other gains, acts of kindness can reduce stress, boost our immune systems, and help reduce anger, anxiety, and depression. The reasons are complex but include changes in the brain chemistry and structure which promote more positive thinking, increased energy and reduced physical pain.

So Ollie, and anyone else who wishes to take your challenge, this weekend I invite you to get involved in some Random Acts of Kindness. The research shows we get the greatest benefits from Random Acts of Kindness when we do multiple acts in one day so your challenge is to do 7 Acts of Kindness in one day. If you want to document them on camera then feel free and, if you do, please tag #randomactsofkindness and @stepinsidewellbeing

If you are stumped for ideas, here are some to get you started:

  1. When in line to get your morning coffee, pay for the person behind you.
  2. Whoever you interact with today, compliment the first two people.
  3. Pick up your phone and send a positive text to 4 people.
  4. Donate items in your home that you haven’t used in the past year.
  5. When parking your car, leave a note to a fellow car to let them know that they did an amazing job at parking.
  6. Take some flowers or sweet treats to a nurse’s station at a nearby hospital.
  7. Give up your seat so someone else can sit on the train or bus.
  8. Hold the door open for someone.
  9. Make a goodie bag of treats, canned food, and warm gloves, socks or a hat and give it to a homeless person.
  10. Send an out-of-the-blue gratitude email to a co-worker or manager (current or past) and let them know how they helped you and express your gratitude.
  11. Give way to another driver who is trying to get out of a busy junction
  12. Help someone who is carrying heavy bags

Learn more about the research, ideas and how you can keep this habit up at @rakfoundation