There's been no shortage of bad news in the past year — sometimes it's felt like too much bad news. Wars, job losses, famines, droughts, extreme weather events, and diseases, among other things, have all taken a collective toll on the world, with the most vulnerable among us suffering the worst of it all.
In other words, there is no better time than right now to show kindness, empathy, and support to those around us.
Individually, we might not have the power to stop wars or solve climate change, but we can take action to spread joy and kindness in our daily lives. We’ve all been through rough moments in our lives and we can all appreciate the power of the little kindnesses that helped us get through.
Humanity’s capacity for kindness has literally changed the world many times over and in 2023, the world can definitely do with a little more kindness.
The best part about being kind or spreading joy is that everybody wins: kindness feels (and is) good (research has proven that kindness makes us happier), somebody’s life is a little easier, and a little more positive energy is released into the universe. If you didn’t practice kindness before, you should start right away — you can thank us later.
If you can’t figure out where to start, we’ve got you. Kindness comes in many shapes and forms and, though you may not realize it, acts of kindness are also activism — changing the world one small act at a time. We’ve curated a list of 12 easy things anyone (but especially you) can do to spread kindness and joy in their daily life in 2023 — and you can get started as soon as you finish reading this article. Head to the Global Citizen app to discover our fun 7-day "Easy Acts of Kindness" challenge, to help you spread kindness and take action for a kinder world this year.
1. Donate blood.
Donating blood can make some feel a little squeamish, but it’s quick and easy to do and your donation can save up to three lives — and you get a free snack so what’s not to love?
Just find a blood bank or donation center close to you and set up an appointment. Don’t worry, if you have a busy week because your donation will be vital whenever you have the time to give blood.
2. Pick litter.
All you need are gloves and a couple of bin bags and you can become a champion for your local environment — a one-person army against plastic pollution, if you will. If you feel that’s too lonely, you can also organize litter picking drives with your friends, coworkers, family, and even neighbors. You could get to meet other environmentally-minded people in your community who also can’t stand rubbish. Why not get started by taking our week-long Trash Collector challenge — all you need is the Global Citizen app and you’re good to go.
3. Support local food banks.
It might be too much to single-handedly take on the global food crisis, so why not start local by tackling hunger in your community? You can volunteer your time, help with food drives, donate food items (mainly non-perishable goods), help with packing or unpacking large donations, or even help with distribution. There are so many possibilities but the best way to support a food bank is to find out what those in your area actually need.
Many food banks these days have social media pages and websites but you can also just ask around for a local food bank near you and walk in. Find out what help they need and see how best you can support that need.
4. Give people compliments.
Who doesn’t love a compliment, right? You can make someone’s day so much brighter with a compliment like, “you’re so brilliant at your job” or “you’re always there for your friends” and particularly if you take the time to make it specific. Either way, compliments are one of the simplest forms of kindness.
There are charities and nonprofits of all kinds that are doing incredible work to tackle so many issues in our communities — and they need all the help they can get. It doesn’t even have to be financial in nature, you can volunteer your time, skills, or services, and it feels great when you know someone’s life is a little easier thanks to your contributions.
6. Give away items you don’t need.
Most of us have way more things than we actually need — whether it’s that jumper you bought but have never actually worn, or shelves of books you’ll likely never read. Trust us, someone somewhere will value that thing you’re not using.
Have a look around your house or room for clothes, shoes, household appliances, cutlery, toiletries, belts, sanitary products, and any other items that are still in good condition but you no longer need, and give them away.
If you don’t know where to start, you can clean the items up, take pictures, and share on your social media or in any community groups you belong to. Check out apps like FreeCycle or Next Door too; and don’t forget charity or thrift shops in your area. You can also give directly to someone — people often talk about the things they need online too.
7. Share the inspiration.
Do you have a quote, song, movie, article, or music video that gives you hope or inspires you to want to make the world better? Share it with one person you know and one stranger today. It could give them hope and inspire them to start taking action in their lives too!
8. Write a postcard to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Postcards are cheap and are a great way to let someone you haven’t spoken to in a while know that you are thinking of them. You can also just thank them for being in your life or share a fun memory with them — it’ll definitely win you some friend points but most importantly, make that person’s day.
9. Tutor kids or help with reading in schools.
A quality education couldn’t be more important when it comes to getting the best start in life — and there are so many kids around the world who need a hand getting that quality education.
But whether it’s tutoring or helping kids with reading in school, there are lots of low-key ways you can help. Check out the local charities that work in education in your community, and see if you can help with tutoring children or support the charity in other ways.
You can also volunteer at public schools or child welfare offices in your area to tutor children in math, literature, computer skills, and anything else you can think of! Many of these nonprofits and public schools have coordinators that will guide you and provide you with resources to get you started.
10. Offer to carry a bag, help someone cross the road, or take a picture when you’re out and about.
It might not seem like much but offering to help someone cross the road, or offering to carry a bag or a pushchair can instantly make their day better. So if you’re out and about and see someone who looks like they could do with some help, offer it.
11. Gift someone a personalized Spotify/YouTube/Apple Music playlist.
Give someone a curated playlist of songs, funny videos, or documentaries that you think they would like. It just might be the pick-me-up they need.
12. Anonymously leave out treats for your colleagues where you work.
You can leave protein bars in the office fridge, biscuits on your colleagues’ desks, or slip a gift card underneath their keyboard when they are not looking. You can essentially be the all-year-round secret santa the office didn’t know it needed and you get to enjoy the recipients' euphoria, secretly.
If you are able to do everything on this list, you will be adding a seismic amount of kindness and joy into the world — and what could be better, right? So this year, let’s embrace kindness and taking action, and make more good news happen! Get started now by downloading the Global Citizen app and taking our 7-day "Easy Acts of Kindness" challenge — you'll get a prompt each day to do a small act of kindness from the list above. If this list has inspired you to think about other ways you can spread joy in 2023, we hope you can encourage your friends and family to join you on that journey. Every little positive act matters!