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How to Be Kind: 16 Ways to Be Kinder and Happier

Anna is the Editor-in-Chief & Content Strategist of Lifehack.
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Being kind is something everyone has been taught to do starting at a young age. But what makes knowing how to be kind so important? It turns out, that being kind is a characteristic strength that ripples out in many ways.

Unsurprisingly, being kind can make you happier, and research projects have shown this is indeed the case.

In one interesting study conducted by the Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia, participants were asked to recall spending a small sum of money either on themselves or to help someone in need. Those who donated that sum to charity or as a gift remembered being much happier than when they had spent the money on themselves. [1]

Researchers also found that once people got into the loop of being kind, which was followed by a feeling of happiness, they were more likely to do lots of other acts. It is a win-win situation. Psychologists call this the ‘helper’s high.’ The exact biological process which links positive emotions to physical and mental wellbeing is not fully understood yet, but the results are there for all to see.

How to be Kind: Easy Actionable Tips You Can Try

Want to learn how to be kind but don’t know where to start? It’s easy. Take a look at these examples of being kind below.

1. Telephone Someone

There is always one person in your group of acquaintances who is lonely and isolated. Try calling him or her now and again. When you do this, you are acknowledging that other person’s need, and letting them know that you can be their support system. Most importantly, you are also letting the person know that you care.

Among your friends, try to see who has instantly gone silent on social media or you think is dealing with some problems. Give them a phone call. This may seem like a small thing to do, but it will make a lot of difference.


2. Be on the Lookout for Those Who Need Help

Doesn’t it feel good when you can help someone out? When was the last time you helped someone else? Think about it. If you want to know how to be kind, you must understand that helping doesn’t always have to be grand. It can be simple.

For example, when you go to the coffee machine and see a colleague there, offer to get him or her a coffee. After all, coffee is an integral part of many people’s days.

Of course, this tip doesn’t just apply to coffee. If you are going to the water cooler, try offering to get someone else a cup of water while you’re on your way, or maybe there is an elderly person in your condo or someone who has had an accident. Offer to do the shopping.

The point is, try to go out of your way to serve other people. You may not know this, but your small act of kindness may have made their day.

3. Let Someone Go in Front of You

Many times we encounter a situation where we are required to wait in line. Whether at the bank, in the supermarket, or at the airport, waiting in line can be frustrating, tedious, and irritating. Be kinder in instances like these. Ease that tension by letting someone go before you.

It helps make someone’s day a little better.

4. Drive With Kindness

This is one of the most life-changing ways to be kind. Drivers are notorious for being rude, which is why there are many opportunities in this tip.


For example, you can wave to a pedestrian across the street or stop to let a car park. When a driver needs to make a turn, change lanes or merge into your lane, let them through with a wave and a smile. And if another driver makes you angry, let it go instead of retaliating.

Letting go can make a big difference. This tip means that you must always be kind not only to people you know but even to strangers.

5. Pay a Few Compliments

Learning how to be kind to others is easy once you know where to start. Compliments are one of the best ways to turn people’s day around, so why not do it? Paying someone a few compliments can make them feel more confident and uplift their mood.

There are many ways you can do this. For example, let your partner know how great they look today, or compliment a colleague or a friend on their new outfit.

Another way to compliment someone is by telling them what they do well. Compliments are the highest form of flattery, and they should be given out freely.

6. Smile More Often

This is a rather simple one, but it’s very effective. Remember that a smile is the most wonderful expression of mankind.


Smiling is one of the best ways to make people feel good. It is a positive sign of happiness and relaxation. In addition, it shows that you are happy and enjoying your everyday life. If you try to smile more often, this may even make you more cheerful and upbeat.

Try walking down a corridor at work and smile all the way there. You might be surprised at how many smiles you get back. It is infectious! When you smile at somebody, it boosts their mood and gives them the impression that you genuinely care about them.

7. Express Gratitude

Wondering how to be nice? Saying “thank you” and “please” is like the oil that lubricates the engine of human interaction. Works every time!

Don’t be afraid to express your gratitude. For example, if you are a boss, you can thank your employees.

Science says that when we express gratitude, our brain releases two crucial neurotransmitters – dopamine and serotonin – which makes us feel good and enhances our mood. [2]

Nothing shows good leadership, great communication skills, and depth of character quite like a boss who is not afraid or shy of saying thank you to his employees. Bring your assistant coffee. It shows a deep appreciation and can go a long way in strengthening your work relationship.

8. Talk to a Shy Person

Have you ever noticed how shy people struggle at social gatherings? Try a little act of kindness just by talking to them. You could be surprised at what you discover. When you extend your kindness to a shy person, they will receive it with appreciation.


Remember that for many people, making new friends isn’t easy. All they want is a little encouragement, and if they feel appreciated, they will return the favor.

9. Sacrifice, Even in a Small Way

A little sacrifice can go a long way. This could refer to your money, time, effort, or belongings.

For example, the next time you see a catastrophe on TV, note the charity donation number and send the SMS, or if there’s a soup kitchen in your area, ask them what they need most for supporting the needy and homeless. It could be anything from running an errand, shopping, or baking a cake for them.

You may also buy groceries for someone in line with you at the supermarket or just help an elderly neighbor carry the rubbish out. These small acts of kindness make someone else’s day.

10. Teach Your Kids Kindness

If you are a parent or work with young people in a youth organization or school, raise awareness about those in need.

Encourage your kids and/or students about volunteering and donating. Old toys that are still in good condition can make another kid happy. Aside from toys, you can also start a book donation drive and give it away to those who are unable purchase books on their own.

Teaching other people about the importance of kindness will do wonders for your community.

11. Be a Modern Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed is a revolutionary nurseryman who introduced apple trees to many parts of the United States. Considering how nature can not only provide people with a sense of well-being, but also help to reduce crime and aggression. [3] Why not channel your inner Johnny Appleseed?


It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert on plants or not. You can start small and plant a few herbs or flowers in different areas of your neighborhood. In a few weeks, you’ll be able to see the fruits of your labor, and others will love it too.

12. Donate Your Hair

Did you know that some charities make wigs from real hair for children who have suffered from hair loss during cancer treatment? If you have hair, let it grow and donate it to one of these charities.

Before growing out your hair, make sure to research the requirements of charities about hair length. This way, you can have an idea of what your goal is.

When you donate your hair, you can help someone who is healing from chemotherapy to gain back their confidence and outlook in life. Ultimately, this goes a long way in helping them go further on their road to recovery.

13. Show Affection

What is your love language? Is it physical touch? How about words of affirmation? Maybe it’s acts of service. Whatever it is, remember to apply it to other people as well. This is one of the best techniques you need to learn if you want to know how to be kind.

There are many ways you can show someone you love them and mean it. A hug, a kiss, a gentle pat on the back, or any sign of affection will be appreciated. Everyone needs an occasional reminder that they are loved and you are there for them, especially your family and friends.


14. Listen to Someone Who Has a Problem

On a scale from one to ten, how much of a good listener are you? Keep in mind that listening is different from hearing. A great listener is someone who not only hears what is being said but also understands the context.

Learning to listen is a skill that can be perfected, and there are many different ways to learn. One of the best ways on how to be kind is to take the time to listen to others and make sure you listen with your full attention and understanding. This skill will not only benefit you and others but is also a valuable life skill that will thank you in the long term.

Being a good listener is a great sign that you can display empathy and warmth. When someone is telling you their problem, just listen and try not to interrupt with advice. There will be other opportunities for that.

15. Help a Co-Worker

When you see a colleague in real difficulty because of a scary deadline, a tyrannical boss, or because they are suffering bereavement, lend a helping hand.

Better yet, try to do good things once in a while in your office. For example, change the toner or paper in the photocopier. The next time you see a colleague swearing because the toner or paper runs out, step up to the plate. Do it with a pleasant smile, and you have a new fan.

Similarly, show appreciation to your coworkers. Bring those donuts, cookies, or a homemade treat. Small surprises and tokens of appreciation spread good cheer in the workplace and build comradeship.


16. Mentor a Child or Teen

Around 76% of people think that mentors are important. Unfortunately, only 37% have one. [4]

Consider becoming a mentor and encourage a child or teen to achieve their best. Help them overcome peer pressure at school and help inspire them pave the next path leading toward adulthood.

How to Be Kind: 16 Ways to Be Kinder and Happier

Simple Tips on How to Be Kind

4 Actions
How to Be Kind: 16 Ways to Be Kinder and Happier
Consider donating, volunteering, or giving up your time to help others in need.
How to Be Kind: 16 Ways to Be Kinder and Happier
Tap into your love language; show a loved one affection, acts of service, words of affirmation, giving, and spending time quality time are all acts of kindness.
How to Be Kind: 16 Ways to Be Kinder and Happier
Be patient and let someone go first whether on the road or when standing in line.
How to Be Kind: 16 Ways to Be Kinder and Happier
Smile and compliment friends, family, colleagues, and even stranger. Part of practicing kindness is passing it along to others. 

Final Thoughts

Kindness is not just a habit for priests and other do-gooders. It’s a habit for all of us. To be a better, happier person, you need to know how to be kind every day, all the time. If you are unkind to others, it tends to cause more harm than to the person you are performing unkind acts to. Now that you know some actionable tips on how to be a kind person, you can finally start your journey to become better.


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