"Do things for people, not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are." -- Harold S. Kushner

Being kind is not something that benefits only the recipient of kindness. The person who makes the difference can gain something positive, too.

When you engage in an act of kindness, endorphins (a natural painkiller) are produced in your brain. Plus, people who are kind have 23 percent less of the stress hormone cortisol than the average population.

If you want to feel calmer, more optimistic, and have improved feelings of self-worth, consider helping others. Remember: small acts of kindness can make a big difference in the lives of others. If you need some small acts of kindness ideas to get started, check out the below:

  • Give a coworker a compliment.
  • Give a stranger a compliment.
  • Pick up some litter.
  • Do a charity run.
  • Serve at a soup kitchen.
  • Thank a teacher or mentor with a surprise gift.
  • Send a letter to a good friend instead of a text.
  • Offer to give a coworker a ride home.
  • Send a list of things you admire in a colleague.
  • Pay for the coffee order of the person behind you in line.
  • Take your sibling out for some fun.
  • Buy instrument lessons for your parents.
  • Leave a positive sticky-note on a co-worker's desk.
  • Bring sweet treats to work.
  • Send your mother flowers.
  • Plant a tree.
  • Help someone with a flat tire.
  • Do more chores without someone asking you.
  • Participate in or hold a fundraiser.
  • Help a neighbor with their groceries.
  • Shovel a neighbor's driveway when it snows.
  • Put your phone away completely during a conversation.
  • Prepare a meal for your work team.
  • Babysit for free.
  • Take someone on a random adventure.
  • Send a care package.
  • Make someone a playlist they would enjoy.
  • Bring someone a souvenir from a trip.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter.
  • Send dessert to another table.
  • Let someone behind you at the grocery store go in front of you.
  • Bring flowers to a nursing home.
  • Leave a very generous tip.
  • And lastly, treat yourself for no reason--you deserve kindness too. 

Published on: May 23, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.