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Sure, every day is a great day to do something nice! But this day, the practice of kindness is particularly relevant as it’s time for Do Something Nice Day!

History of National Do Something Nice Day

The idea of doing something nice for others has been around all throughout the history of humankind. Sure, the story of mankind is certainly filled with a myriad of difficulties and war, and these are more often written down for posterity. But it’s also possible to find evidence of the nice things that people have done for each other. Over the centuries, people have lived in community with one another and have performed acts of kindness and generosity.

Some of the greatest evidences of people doing something far beyond took place during World War II, when many different people in Europe risked their lives to protect and rescue those who were being persecuted by the Nazi regime, especially the Jews. These types of activities included people like Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch woman who opened her home to Jewish refugees, as well as Oskar Schindler, a Nazi Party member who helped save at least 1200 Jews.

But Do Something Nice Day doesn’t necessarily have to be dramatic or risky. It can simply be the inspiration behind performing small and random acts of kindness that can add up to making the world a better place!

Although the motivation of Do Something Nice Day is typically selfless, for no reason other than to be kind to someone else, many people don’t realize that the act of kindness can be good for you as well! Doing something nice on a regular basis can actually improve a person’s health.

Research behind performing acts of kindness has shown health benefits, such as the release of oxytocin, which is a hormone that helps lower the blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Other reports include participants who say they have more energy after being kind and that generous people are more likely to be happy themselves. Plus, older people who volunteer to help others are less likely to report aches and pains and they are 44% less likely to die early.

Clearly, Do Something Nice Day is a good way for everyone to get motivated to be a positive and uplifting presence in the world – not only on this day but perhaps even starting a habit to do something nice every day!

National Do Something Nice Day Timeline

1810

The Underground Railroad Begins

Over the next several decades, until slavery is abolished in the US, the Underground Railroad secretly transports approximately 100,000 people to freedom – which is above and beyond in the category of being nice![1]

1929

Mother Teresa arrives in India

As a nun and a teacher, Mother Teresa will eventually start her own order of nuns whose primary task is to care for and look after the most needy in Calcutta.[2]

1982

Random Acts of Kindness movement begins

Writer and activist Anne Herbert publishes an article titles Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Acts of Senseless Beauty, launching a movement of people being nice. [3]

2000

Pay It Forward film is released

Starring Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment, this movie tells the story of an 11-year old boy who launches a movement of being nice.

2009

Operation Beautiful is launched

Caitlyn Boyle begins a movement of writing positive messages on sticky notes and placing them on mirrors and in other public spaces to be discovered.

How to Celebrate National Do Something Nice Day

Encouraging people to do kind things for those around them, National Do Something Nice Day offers a wide variety of options for celebrating and enjoying the day:

Do Something Nice for Someone

The name of the day is the first thing on the agenda! Being nice on this day can be something super simple or a bit over the top. Perhaps consider taking your significant other on a surprise weekend away. Or head to the drugstore or department store and pick up a collection of greeting cards to send to a collection of friends or family members “just because”.

Give a Compliment

On this day (and any day!) it’s a great idea to keep an eye out and notice when people do something that deserves a compliment! Whether it is noticing a family member’s new haircut, thanking the taxi driver or doorman for their patient service, or telling the neighbor how lovely their roses look, National Do Something Nice Day is a great time to remember to say the things that might go unsaid on typical days.

Learn About the Benefits of Doing Something Nice

Not convinced that Do Something Nice Day actually works? Consider these personal health benefits that are experienced by people who get in the habit of being kind to those around them:

  • Reduced Stress Hormones

    People who are perpetually being nice tend to have 23% lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that hijacks the body’s processes and can even increase aging.

  • Lower Blood Pressure

    Those who embrace the lifestyle of doing nice things can count on the release of oxytocin in their blood. This hormone helps to open up blood vessels and reduce blood pressure, creating a protection for the cardiovascular system and improving heart health. 

  • Reduced Depression

    Studies have shown that people who give of themselves in kindness report greater life satisfaction, improved self-realization, improved mood and lower incidences of depression.

  • Extended Life Span

    People who live lives devoted to acts of kindness are often calmer, release more serotonin (the peaceful hormone), have lower blood pressure and are generally happier. And this makes for an increased life span!

Make a Donation to Charity

One way to do something nice in honor of the day is to help financially support a good cause. Even if it’s just a few dollars, every little bit counts when it comes to helping out charities, whether local, national or international. Of course, there are literally tons of organizations all over the world that can use support, so it might be a bit difficult to choose.

In honor of Do Something Nice Day, try to find a cause that is close to your heart to make a donation to. Some of the most popular charities are those that help children, offer support to animals that are at risk, or provide medical research or medical care. Support people with disabilities, offer help to people of minorities who have been treated poorly, help people all over the world to fight for their civil rights, or invest in the protection and sustainability of the earth’s environment. The sky’s the limit when it comes to helping people!

Join a Kindness Community

Wanting to spend more time with others who are also committed to doing something nice? Then try joining a community that is dedicated to kindness. For instance, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation offers ideas, resources, challenges and opportunities for individuals to connect, get daily emails and become activists for being nice. This Random Acts of Kindness community operates in 89 countries all over the world and reports more than 40,000 activists and it’s a great way to get connected and motivated to Do Something Nice!

National Do Something Nice Day FAQs

What is something nice you can do for someone?

A million ways exist to be nice! Try sending a letter or flowers, offer to babysit or walk a friend’s dog, or pay for someone’s coffee who is after you in line. [1]

What does it mean to be a nice person?

A person who is nice or kind is one who shows compassion, listens well, offers thoughtful observations and is honest but respectful.[2]

Why should we be nice to others?

Being nice offers a host of benefits, including reducing stress, making people happier, and even helping people to live longer. Plus, it’s just fun! [3]

How can I be nicer?

Considering others is the best way to be nice. Try being punctual, smile and laugh a lot, ask others about themselves (and then listen!) and don’t forget to say please and thank you.

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