Researchers at Stanford University found that study participants were more likely to elicit kindness after witnessing an act of kindness themselves, and the actual acts didn’t need to be related in any way for the contagious effect. Study participants didn’t need to see others do anything; they just had to believe that others had acted in a benevolent way to reciprocate those actions.

On top of its contagious effect, kindness actually delivers some of the same physical and mental benefits that exercise does. Performing acts of kindness have shown to reduce social anxiety in social interactions, act as a mood-booster and even reduce blood pressure.

The Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation operates year-round to help spread kindness, but it’s on February 17th this year that individuals and groups around the world will spread the love.

Here are some ways that you can get involved with Random Acts of Kindness Day this year.

Give a compliment 
Spread some positivity by giving someone a genuine compliment. Make it specific and thoughtful and be honest. Think about a characteristic or action that makes that someone special, and praise them for it.

Donate your old clothes
We could probably all get a little better at recycling our clothes. Do the earth, and someone else a favour and donate some of the clothes that you no longer wear.

Prepare a meal for your family
Sitting down as a family and eating a home-cooked meal can have considerable benefits. In addition to the fact that home-cooked meals tend to be healthier, and therefore give us extra energy, the social connections of a communal meal can help us feel happier.

Bring a treat for your coworkers
Surprise your coworkers with a tasty treat to brighten up their day. Instead of donuts, be kind to your coworkers’ health and bring in something healthy and delicious like a fruit tray. If you’re stuck on baked goods, try making these apple muffins with a strudel topping.

Spend time with your grandparents
Take some time out of your day and spend it with your grandparents. Bring along a board game or a puzzle, a cup of coffee or spend some time just chatting about life. Or, if they live far away, call them.

Send a friend a letter instead of a text
Who doesn’t love the feeling of receiving a letter or card in the mail? Instead of sending a friend or family member another text, share the personal and thoughtful gift of a handwritten letter.

Give a morning pick-me-up
Whether you prepare it at your office coffee bar or pick it up on your way to work, make someone’s morning by bringing them a steaming cup of coffee. If you want to spread the love to someone random, pick up the bill of the person behind you in the drive-thru.