People who are living their final days have taught us many things. One of the most important is appreciation for the present moment. Another is gratitude for the good things in our lives—an Act of Kindness is a concrete expression of that appreciation. To honor this lesson given to us by the dying and their families, the Maine Hospice Council and Center for End-of-Life Care is launching an Act of Kindness project.

Research shows that Acts of Kindness—both given and received—increase happiness. The joy received When we honored someone with a gift, their joy far outweighs the cost. Most people enjoy giving more than receiving. Receiving a gift from a complete stranger is unique. An unexpected gift surprises us and reminds us that we matter, that others care about us. Sometimes these gifts come when we need them most.

Here’s an example: Debbie has been struggling with overwhelming sadness since the death of her beautiful 25-year-old daughter. One particularly bad day, when every song on the car radio was gloomier than the last, Debbie placed her usual order at the drive-thru of her local coffee shop and noticed an angel decal on the rear window of the car in front of her. When she pulled forward to pay, the cashier informed her that the driver had paid for her order. This simple act of kindness made Debbie smile, bringing her a moment of joy in a time of deep sorrow.

Download Act of Kindness Tags suitable for printing (PDF). Then, here are some Acts of Kindness Ideas to get you started: