By Mary Boone
It seems most folks want to live in neighborhoods that are walkable, with easy access to public transportation, restaurants and shopping. They also want to live in places where they get along with those around them.
Creating that comfortable, know-your-neighbors kind of atmosphere isn’t difficult. In fact, it can happen one random act of kindness at a time. Perform a selfless act to help or cheer up a neighbor and you’ll actually be helping yourself — studies prove it.
According to researcher and author David R. Hamilton, performing a kind act releases oxytocin — the same hormone that surges when you hold your baby or cuddle a kitten — and temporarily lowers blood pressure. “Kindness is literally good for your heart,” he explains.
In an effort to improve both your health and the place you live, here’s a list of 35 kind acts you could perform for neighbors. Don’t be limited by the list; rather, consider it a kindness starting point:
Decorate a neighbor’s door or fence with a wreath.
Rake someone’s leaves.
Pick up trash that’s blown along the street or gutters.
Shovel a stranger’s sidewalk or driveway.
Ask someone you see on the street “How are you?” — and mean it.
Bake some cookies for your neighbor.
Call a neighbor you haven’t talked to in a while.
Give someone a flower — or a dozen.
Leave a kind note on a neighbor’s car windshield.
Hold the elevator.
Invite someone who lives alone over for dinner.
Introduce yourself to someone you always see around.
Hold the door open for someone.
Clean up graffiti.
Send a thank-you note to the staff at your local police or fire station.
Help someone unload their groceries.
Greet your mail carrier with hot chocolate on a snowy day or a cold water bottle on a warm day.