wholehearted living

22 Tiny Acts of Kindness You Can Do in the Middle of Your Day

“How are you doing?”

“Good, good,” I answered. “Nothing too new!”

It’s my default response to a question we’re asked all the time. My friend smiled and… paused. She didn’t rush off, letting one of her kids pull her toward their car. She waited.

It probably lasted ONE second, and she may not even know she did it, but that heartbeat of comfortable silence made me realize that I wasn’t altogether “good.”

“Well, actually,” I said. “It’s been kind of a crazy week. Trenton broke his arm, my grandpa died, I found out I may or may not have Crohn’s disease, and my husband is in China.”

But this post isn’t about how I was doing that day. It’s about my friend’s one-second pause, a simple, unplanned act of kindness that ended up being just what I needed.

When life gets overwhelming (see above 😉 ), when my Facebook feed is filled with negativity, or when someone does something that stings, I try to come back to simple kindnesses like the one my friend offered me.

I really believe that what we put out into the world comes back to us, perhaps because of some karma force that I can’t explain, but also maybe just because when you DO good, you NOTICE good.

So if, by chance, you could use a boost, do some good. Do the kind of good that doesn’t require research or planning, the kind that may take no more than 30 seconds out of your day. My guess is that in doing it, you’ll find there’s more kindness in the world than you thought.

22 Tiny Acts of Kindness

1. Reply to the person who sent a group email. So often group emails go unanswered because everyone assumes someone else has replied to the sender. Send a quick reply of thanks.

2. Hold the door for someone.

3. Let a parent with young kids in their cart go in front of you in the grocery line.

4. Say thank you to someone who made your life a bit better today. A group fitness instructor, your child or spouse, the neighbor who dropped a misdirected piece of mail off on your doorstep…

5. Send a thinking-of-you text.

6. Make eye contact with anyone who serves you. Cashiers, dry cleaners, baristas, receptionists, medical personnel, house cleaners, car washers, etc.

7. If you see one person taking a photo of someone else, offer to use their camera and take a photo of them together. (I love to do this when we’re out exploring. It’s such an easy gesture that people always appreciate.)

8. “Like” every photo in your Instagram feed. If you have an extra few minutes, leave sincere comments.

9. Bring in your neighbor’s trash cans or newspaper. Or if you’re cleaning out your cans, clean out theirs too.

10. Offer to hold a friend’s baby.

11. Pay for the person behind you in a drive-through, or put extra coins in metered parking when you pull out.

12. When on the road, make a habit of giving other cars the right of way.

13. Leave a generous tip, or leave your change in a tip jar.

14. Send more photo texts to your parents. They like to see what you’re up to.

15. Ask your friend an engaging question about herself. {16 conversation-promoting questions}

16. In the back page of a journal or in an app on your phone, make a list of things your friends and family members love. Does one of your closest friend always take Hot Tamales on a road trip? (Oops, that’s me.) Does your sister love when the salted caramel hot chocolate comes back at Starbucks? (Oops, also me. 😉 ) File these observations away for future reference.

17. Pick up litter when you notice it and throw it away.

18. Read a book to your child.

19. For an act of kindness with a bit of whimsy, carry a stack of post-it notes in your purse and leave motivational love-notes in public places. “You are the kindest person I know. (Yes you.)” “You are beautiful inside and out.”

20. Write a positive review for a book, product, or restaurant you enjoyed. It benefits the author or owner, and it benefits other consumers. #winwin

21. Use people’s names when you talk to them. It feels good to be noticed and known.

22. Pause for an extra second in your exchanges with people. So often when you stay put just a moment longer than usual, you’ll find people share something they needed to. (I owe my friend Melanie for teaching me this lesson.)

“The world is a kinder place when you’re kind.” unknown

What’s the last simple act of kindness someone did for you

22 TINY acts of kindness you can do in the middle of your week | "The world is a kinder place when you're kind." unknown


  • Reply
    November 29, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Sorry about your hard week. That sounds like a lot to take in at once. It’s so thoughtful of you to be writing a post like this when you’re the one that needs the extra kindness right now!

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      November 29, 2016 at 10:24 am

      You’re so sweet, Lori! When it rains, it pours, right? 😉 Always great to hear from you!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I’m sorry you’re going through a tough time. I think it’s beautiful that despite this you’ve written such a lovely and thought provoking post. It’s a hard and sad time for our family at the moment but you’ve inspired me to do some good. Take care x

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      November 29, 2016 at 10:25 am

      You are so sweet to say that, Emma. And I’m so sorry to hear about the hard time your family is going through—you’ll be in my thoughts! All the best, Erica

  • Reply
    November 29, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    I often regret not taking a bag with me when I go out, because I still pick up the litter anyways, especially at the beach.

  • Reply
    Lindsay Tate
    December 1, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Thanks so much for this post! ! It seems like your articles always come at just the right time, and are just what I need to hear. I appreciate your encouraging perspective on life. Also, I’m so sorry you’re going through so much right now! Praying for you and your family!

  • Reply
    Dee Dee
    December 5, 2016 at 7:37 am

    So uplifting….. thank you for writing this, especially during such a hard week. May peace be with you and yours in the coming weeks and I pray that your hubby gets home soon!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    December 31, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    I hope things got a bit better, and that some of the kindness came back to you. Hugs.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Ooh, glad I stumbled across this. I am terrible at reading my blog list probably because I’m terrible at my blogging. Ha! This is a great reminder of little things I CAN do. I just learned how to knit using a loom so that we could donate them to preemies in the hospital. It isn’t hard at all and something I can do while we’re driving in the car (as a passenger! ha!). I realized it is something little to do but makes me feel good about helping since so many things are just not reasonable right now.

    Enjoyed your cute Christmas card. You’re family is growing up!

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      January 8, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      Always great to hear from you, Liz! And I can definitely relate to that happy satisfaction from doing something GOOD, especially when there isn’t a lot of time or room in your life to do something good and BIG. 😉

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    June 9, 2017 at 5:56 am

    This is just plain beautiful and kind that you shared this with the world.
    Thank you.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2017 at 5:55 am

    You have a gift! Thanks for sharing and making the world a better place. ❤️

  • Reply
    Laura B
    November 15, 2017 at 5:19 am

    I stumbled across this from a pin, and I love this list!! Everyday this month I’ve been hand writing letters of appreciation to those I hold close to my heart. Thank you this wonderful list!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2017 at 7:02 am

    I took my baby to santa pics yesterday and a mom was taking pictures of her two girls out front on a bench and I asked her if I could snap one with her in it. #7 is always my jam. Moms need to exist. I love all of these. So beautifully written! Thanks for sharing your heart

  • Reply
    Doing Good Together
    December 20, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    We often promote acts of kindness for families and children to try, but this is a nice reminder that kindness begins with ourselves and many of the simple acts we can do as adults are incredibly easy – but also incredibly impactful. Thanks for sharing these ideas; we’ll be sharing this post in hopes the kindness continues!

    • Reply
      Erica Layne
      December 21, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks so much, Doing Good Together!!

  • Reply
    Love Just Because
    December 22, 2017 at 9:35 am

    A simple pause is a kind gift to give to someone. This is a great list. Love the post-it note idea. We’ll have to give that a try!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    This is so sweet and uplifting! Thank you!

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    Jennifer Jensen
    April 12, 2018 at 12:38 am

    Thank you for reminding me of how my kindness does make a difference. I try my best to be kindest to those who so not offer me kindness.

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