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In our series, One Fun Thing, we’re collaborating with Anne Browning, PhD, associate dean for Well-Being at the UW School of Medicine, to bring you small, specific and low-effort ways to have more fun, plus a question to help you check in with yourself and others, and well-being resources. 

Sometimes it’s the smallest moments that have the most profound impact on how we feel.

A compliment from a stranger, a free coffee in the drive-through line, a helping hand at work — the meaningfulness of these actions can stick with us long after the moment has passed.

Small acts of kindness feel so good not only because of the outcome (e.g., a free coffee) but because someone chose to take the time and effort to be kind to us. Perhaps the best part is that we have the power to put this kindness into the world, too — and it feels good to do so.

One fun thing: small act of kindness

Small acts of kindness make a big difference.

Research shows doing a small act of kindness improves others’ moods and means more to them than we realize. Basically, kind acts that take minimal effort often have a powerful positive impact on someone else.  

These acts can also be fun, easy and exciting for you, whether it’s a quick text to a friend to let them know you’re thinking about them, post-its around the house with corny jokes to make your kid laugh or a note sent to a co-worker to brighten their day.   

At work, these small acts of kindness can ripple out and build connections. Something as simple as telling someone you admire or appreciate their work isn’t just kind, it also builds belonging and a better workplace culture. And, if you’re feeling energized to dream up more ways to build workplace connection, UW Medicine has $500-$5,000 grants available to fund activities, programs and projects that promote well-being in our community. 

Question of the month

A way to check in with each other and ourselves. Use this question to connect with co-workers at your next meeting, to start a conversation around the dinner table or as a journal prompt.

What activities, events or interactions at work make you feel appreciated and connected to the people around you?