Showing others how much you value them makes them feel loved and cared for. It doesn’t take a lot of money or time to show appreciation to the people who mean the most to you. Your acts of kindness can also inspire your loved ones to be more considerate to family, friends, and other members of humanity. You may also find that showing love to others can benefit you as well.
Does helping others help you?
An article published by the Journal of Happiness Studies indicates that volunteering and doing kind things for others can improve your mental health. When you spend your time bettering the lives of others, you’re likely to live a healthier lifestyle. The blog post also explains that when you give your time and resources to others, you’ll experience less stress. This is proof that what goes around comes around when it comes to being considerate.
Beyond science, many of us find the benefits of giving back to others to be a spiritual truth.
After all, the Bible says in Acts 20:35 that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Most of us also learned the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12). These concepts are the bedrock of many spiritual practices. You may have heard these verses from your parents or older family members, and as you go through life, you’ll find that these principles are true. When you treat people the way you hope to be treated and focus on improving the lives of others, you’ll see bountiful returns.
Here are some sweet gestures that will show the people how important they are to you in your life.
1. Make time to volunteer
You likely won’t have to search too extensively for organizations in your community that need volunteers. Your local church, school, or food bank needs people who are willing to perform free labor so they can use most of their financial resources to fund the mission of their organization. If you have a friend or perhaps a loved one who runs a nonprofit organization, you can show your appreciation for them by volunteering to help further their cause.
When you take an interest in the things your friends and family are passionate about, you’re displaying consideration and a desire to spend time with your friend or family member. Depending on your schedule, you may only be able to do this once in a while, but if your loved one craves quality time, it’s important to volunteer as often as you can.
2. Donate to a worthy cause
Donating to a cause that means a lot to someone special in your life is an excellent way to show appreciation for all the things your loved one has done for you over the years. By spending quality moments with a friend or family member, you’ll find out which social causes are a priority for your loved one.
For instance, if your relative is a teacher, talk to them about donating resources for the classroom, or donate food or money to a charity your loved one works with. If you have children or young people in your life who are part of the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, donating your time and money to further the cause of these organizations is an ideal method to show how much you care, and you’ll likely feel great about your decision.
Depending on your friend or relative’s love language, donating items instead of money could be more significant. Check to see if you can donate food, clothing, books, furniture, or toys so the people receiving the donations will have a tangible gift.
3. Work with an animal shelter
If someone special in your life is an animal lover, you can show appreciation for them by volunteering at a local animal shelter. Or, you can drop off needed items at the animal shelter where your loved one works to help keep the animals healthy, clean, and safe.
Animal shelters are always looking for new pet toys, flea and tick treatments, wee-wee pads, clean towels, leashes, and collars for pets. After spending some time at the animal shelter, you may even be inspired to adopt a pet and give it to your loved one as a gift. This is an extra special gesture since your friend or family member will remember your act of kindness each time they care for their new pet.
4. Have a ‘thank you’ appreciation day
Show your appreciation to a spouse, parent, close friend, or special family member with a ‘thank you day.’ This is a day other than your loved one’s birthday where all of the focus is on showing them how important they are to you and the rest of your friends and family. Start the day by making your loved one’s favorite breakfast. Play music by their favorite artists throughout the day.
Take your friend or family member to one of their favorite places in the city or let them choose an activity for ‘thank you day,’ whether it’s rock climbing, going to a museum, or heading to a concert. End the day by ordering takeout from the guest of honor’s favorite restaurant and watching a movie featuring your loved one’s favorite actors. Devoting an entire day to your loved one creates a fond memory that they will remember for years to come.
5. Donate blood to show appreciation
The American Red Cross asserts that the organization needs about 36,000 units of red blood cells, 7,000 units of platelets, and 10,000 units of plasma in the US every day. The blood that people donate is used for treating a number of health conditions include blood disorders, orthopedic surgeries, bone marrow transplants, and cancer. If you have someone special in your life who has experienced these illnesses or is currently in treatment, donating blood can serve as a sign of solidarity.
You can also make arrangements with your loved one’s healthcare provider to donate blood directly to your friend or relative if your blood types are a match. Your blood donation is a heartfelt way to show your appreciation, and it could literally save your loved one’s life.
If you know of a close friend or family member with a busy schedule, you can mow the lawn or plant a garden as a token of your appreciation. Acknowledging that your loved one is often busy tending to your needs and the needs of other special people in their lives by handling a time-consuming task is a wonderful way to show appreciation.
This token of love is especially valuable in the spring and summer months when grass tends to grow quickly and can be difficult to tend. In addition to making sure the lawn is manicured, plant a few flowers in your loved one’s favorite color for customized curb appeal that will serve as a reminder of how much you care.
7. Surprise your loved one with flowers
If your friend or family member’s love language is gifts and they love surprises, you can give them the gift of flowers. You can arrange for the flowers to arrive while your friend or relative is in a meeting, so the bouquet will be on their desk once they get back in the office. Or, you deliver the flowers yourself so you can also share a hug once you see how pleased and surprised your loved one is.
This token of love is a welcomed surprise when you’re giving the flowers as a ‘just because’ gift when it’s not your loved one’s birthday or a holiday.
8. Offer to babysit
Babysitting services can definitely come in handy for a friend or relative who has a hectic schedule or needs some time to relax. You can show how much you love and appreciate your friend by offering to keep their children for a few hours while your loved one runs errands, goes on a date, or takes a much-needed break. Babysitting is also a great way to bond with the children in your life and develop a closer relationship with them.
9. Become a mentor
Volunteering to mentor a special person in your life can strengthen your relationship. The personal and professional advice you offer could help a friend or family member make important decisions that might impact the trajectory of their lives. Offering your time and resources shows how much you value their presence in your life and shows your desire to see your loved one succeed.
10. Help an elderly loved one or neighbor
Whether you have an older family member who could use your assistance or an elderly neighbor who has become a family friend, take some time out of your day to lend a helping hand to these special people in your life. You can go grocery shopping for a loved one, prepare a meal, drive them to a doctor’s appointment, or simply take a few hours to watch a movie or play a game with them.
These loving gestures make a huge difference to someone who may live alone, and they are a perfect way to offer your gratitude for all the great things your elderly loved one has brought into your life.
You can customize any of these acts of kindness to show the people closest to you how meaningful they are in your life. The more you do for others, the better you’ll feel, and the stronger your relationships will be.