Valerie L. Sizelove
Freelance writer, mom of four.

It’s easy to go overboard when buying a gift for someone or trying to show them how much you care. Sometimes, you get so wrapped up in impressing someone, you can’t fully convey the message of care and kindness that was intended. It doesn’t have to be that hard to let someone know you care about them. Sometimes, the smallest gestures of kindness go a long way.

Why should you make small gestures?

As human beings, we not only communicate verbally, but also through our actions. Sometimes, all it takes is the smallest gesture to brighten someone’s day. Whether it’s a small gesture to show your love to family, or kindness to someone random on the street, engaging in little acts of kindness can make the people around you feel good. You’ll feel good, too, because of it.

15 small gestures:

You can help someone who’s having a bad day. You can strengthen the bonds in your relationships. You can just do it to be nice. It doesn’t take much effort to do these tiny things for others. Here are 15 small gestures you can try out in your life:

1. Offer a smile.

Not only does smiling give you a mood boost, but others who see your smile will feel uplifted as well. When you smile, you share your happiness with others. Make it a true smile, too, one that uses all the muscles in your face. A genuine smile can go a long way for someone having a bad day.

2. Hold the door for someone.

It’s one of those manners driven into us, and hopefully it’s already a habit for you. When you are entering or exiting a building just before or after someone else, kindly hold the door open for them. It takes just an extra five seconds of time, and makes that person feel good.

3. Write a note.

Take a moment to write a good old-fashioned handwritten note to someone. Love letters are fun. Or mail a handwritten letter in the mail to a distant friend. Notes are personal and give a little piece of yourself to someone else.

4. Say “good morning” to a stranger.

On your way to work or school, take a moment to say “good morning” to someone you pass. Most people appreciate the kindness and return the “good morning.” It instills a sense that there is still humanity in a world so controlled by technology. It also strengthens your sense of community.

5. Send flowers for no reason.

Send flowers to your best friend, mother, significant other or anyone else randomly, for no reason. This gesture will make someone feel special, because you took time out of your life to think about them and send flowers.

6. Be a good listener.

Sometimes we zone out without realizing it. When we’re tired or have things on our mind, it can be hard to truly listen to others. When friends and loved ones open up to us and we don’t really hear what they’re saying, they can feel frustrated and disappointed. By working on your active listening skills, you can focus on really being there for others, all by just simply listening better.

7. Ask how you can help.

It’s hard when people we love go through challenges and struggles because we don’t know how to help them. There are lots of “wrong” things you can say to someone who is suffering. For example, don’t tell someone “it’s ok,” or “you’re overreacting.” Instead, simply outright ask what you can do to help. If there is a way you can help, they’ll let you know.

8. Hold hands.

Holding hands with your significant other is a great habit to practice. Even after years, the simple gesture of holding hands reminds couples of the intimate bond they share. Holding hands with friends or family helps you feel close as well.

9. Bring a treat to the office for everyone.

Bust out your apron and get baking. Or just pick up a batch of brownies at the grocery store. Either way, if you surprise the people in your workplace with a small sweet treat, you’ll have the honor of boosting a bunch of peoples’ days at once.

10. Share.

The simple gesture of sharing can go a long way. Whether it means splitting the last cookie with someone else or donating your gently used clothes to charity, it feels good to know you’re helping someone out.

11. Introduce yourself.

When you’re in a crowd of new people, or when there’s someone new in your crowd, introduce yourself. No matter which side of the situation you’re on, this small gesture shows someone that you’re interested in getting to know them. It can help you feel less nervous, or you might be that one person who pulls a shy person out of their shell.

12. Help someone up when you see them fall.

There’s always that person, the one tries to act like they didn’t see anything when you trip and fall down the stairs. Luckily, this situation doesn’t occur very often. But if you do happen to stand witness to someone’s embarrassing moment, be the one to step in, offer your hand, and help them up.

13. Send cards.

Go back to the good old days by sending greeting cards to your distant friends and family. When people get married, when someone graduates, birthdays, Christmas, you name it. When you take a little time to personally mail a card to someone, they’ll feel special.

14. Help a neighbor.

If you have enough change to switch someone’s laundry to the dryer or refill their parking meter, go for it. You may never see the results of your small gesture, but it will enhance the feeling of community in your neighborhood. You could also bring your neighbor’s trash can back from the curb or shovel their sidewalk when you do yours in the wintertime.

15. Volunteer.

If you offer just a few hours of your time to a good cause, you might come out feeling like you’ve helped people. It might not seem like such a small gesture, but one night out of your busy schedule could improve the night for many needy people.

The little things.

You don’t have to leap and jump over hurdles to make someone feel good. It just takes a smile, a hug or a joke to bring someone out of their shell. Sometimes, the small gestures mean the most because there’s less distraction from the sentiment. Keep practicing kindness in small ways and your soul will feel the benefits.

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