This week, Feb. 15-21 is Random Acts of Kindness Week, and it's the perfect time to do something nice for someone else. It doesn't have to be a big gesture, even buying a cup of coffee for the next guy in line or throwing a quarter into an expired parking meter can go a long way towards making another person's day better.  

And there are hidden benefits for you, too. Research shows that helping other people contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of all kinds of illnesses from depression, to ulcers, to asthma. So grab a quarter, a shovel, or an extra pair of gloves and see how you can make another person's day a little brighter. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Leave a small gift of food or clothing at the door of a family in need.
  • Write a note to a teacher, thanking him or her for a lesson.
  • Is someone in your community feeling down? Send that person an anonymous card or message.
  • Take birdseed to the park and spread kindness to your feathered friends.  
  • Visit an animal shelter and bring some treats for the animals and the staff.
  • Know a neighbor who needs help? Mow her lawn, clean his house, or shovel snow for the whole block.
  • Send a letter to someone (like a teacher or coach) who made a difference in your life.
  • Bake cookies or another treat, and give them away at school or at work.
Need more inspiration? Check out these kindness ideas.
Random Acts of Kindness Week
Pay it forward to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week.