There’s a lot of chaos and suffering in the world — watching the morning news can make you feel like everything is dire. However, more pessimistic folk often overlook the positive actions people take daily that keep society going and make the world a bit brighter.
Performing random acts of kindness is the perfect way to remedy all the negativity in the news. It prompts your brain to release feel-good neurotransmitters that improve your mood and bust depression.
Furthermore, it promotes a sense of agency — a belief that your actions can make a difference in your life and those of others.
What can you do to make the world a better place while reaping the psychological benefits? Here are eight unique ways to give back this fall.
1. Feel a Little Lucky
Did you know you can give back while taking a lucky chance? Many state lotteries use the funds raised from gaming for various good causes, from providing well-stocked classrooms to raising money for disease research.
How can you participate? It’s easy — head to your nearest convenience or grocery store and select your lucky winning tickets. You’ll find a variety from the big-ticket Mega Millions to more minor scratch-off games with better odds of winning.
Better yet, lottery tickets make fabulous stocking stuffers. Do you have a birthday coming up? Why not tuck a few smiles inside their cards while raising money for a worthy cause?
2. Adopt a Classroom
Teachers worked harder than ever to allow students to keep learning through the pandemic. Many pay out of pocket for classroom supplies and inflation means they’re feeling the pinch more than ever.
Fortunately, you can adopt a classroom to provide a teacher in need with supplies. It’s best to go through an organization that can help with ready-made materials on critical subjects like dealing with trauma in children and supporting them through difficult times. You donate directly to the fund, which teachers use to fulfill their wish list needs.
3. Host a Luncheon
Educators are also tired. Many of them have to juggle crazy schedules between making arrangements for their children and dealing with switches between online and in-person learning.
As they rarely enjoy a quiet lunch period, consider hosting a luncheon for the teachers at your child’s school. Ensure you provide a variety of dishes to please those with dietary restrictions and coordinate with administrative staff to set it up in the faculty lounge during midday.
4. Help in a Community Garden
Do you want fresh air, sunshine and exercise while doing good? If so, consider helping out on a community garden project. You can reduce your food costs for your family, meet new people and generate donations for local charities.
If you don’t have such an amenity in your area, look into starting one. You’ll have to locate a suitable property, obtain the necessary permits, market and fund your project. You can often expedite the process by coordinating with a local organization such as the Rotary Club.
5. Teach a Skill
Are you retired or nearly so? Have you shifted to part-time work but want to keep your skills sharp? Do so by teaching what you know to others.
For example, local libraries always need individuals to teach adults basic computing skills. Your parks and recreation department also has a wide array of offerings, including everything from crocheting to DIY projects.
Consider contacting them and coordinating a workshop or a regular class. Doing so is a great way to keep your resume timely if you’re stepping back from your career to work on family or personal goals.
6. Upcycle Your Clothes
Did you skip spring cleaning this year? If it’s time to fall-clean your closets, don’t resign those worn-out duds to the landfill. You can upcycle them dozens of ways.
Why not turn that old T-shirt into an art class smock for your toddler or a new pillow for your pup? Absorbent fabrics like cotton and flannel make glorious cleaning rags. If you’re convinced those old boxers have too many holes to save, investigate textile recycling facilities near you.
7. Clean Out Your Pantry
If you’ve gone grocery shopping lately, you know the cost of your favorite items has increased quite a bit. Many people are struggling. However, you could be sitting on unanswered prayers if your cupboards overflow with nonperishables you thought might taste good some day but remain uneaten with approaching expiration dates.
Why not clean out and donate what you don’t need to your nearest soup kitchen or food pantry? Do you want to go further if you have extra when so many lack the basics? You can set up a small pantry outside your house, stocking it with nonperishable food items and sanitary goods like tampons those in need can take for free.
8. Just Be Kind
Many people are hurting these days and you can’t tell who is from outside appearances. Despite their sacrifices during the pandemic, many service workers are now struggling to deal with soaring rents amid stagnant wages. Some people live in vehicles despite working multiple jobs thanks to high housing costs.
Perhaps the kindest way you can give back this fall is simply to be kind to everyone you encounter. Smile and say thank you. It might not seem like much, but it can improve someone’s entire day.
Give Back in a New Way This Fall
People worldwide are feeling down and your random acts of kindness can make a difference. Consider these eight unique ways to give back this fall. What will you do to inspire smiles?