Letter: Continuing the discussion on mental health; The Kindness Challenge

I had a very challenging situation which led to struggles in mental health. You would not be able to pick me out of the crowd, as I look the same as you and your friends. Yet, when you smile or lend me a hand or take a minute to chat, you may be saving my life. On the contrary, when you act inconsiderate even just a bit it feels like the last straw for me. Because I know firsthand how much small acts of kindness (from strangers and people I know) changed my life, I am reaching out to you to ask you to please join me in doing the same for others. Simple acts make a world of a difference to someone who is emotionally drained. This challenge can take one minute a day or less for seven days. It is very simple.

  1. Decide that want to be part of trying to have 3,000 acts of kindness done for the next seven days.
  2. Each day engage in three small acts of kindness (see below for examples).
  3. Set up an alarm on your phone to ring midday to remind you of “the kindness challenge” (this step is optional)
  4. Email the words “Challenge Accepted” to [email protected] (include your name if you want to).
  5. Inform one person about this challenge to help spread awareness.

Acts of kindness can be to a Spouse, child, community member, stranger, friend, acquaintance, boss, employee, coworker, parent, or anyone!

Ideas of acts of kindness

Leave a note for your child telling him how much he means to you

Talk/play with your child without your phone around for five minutes

Tell your spouse a kind word midday

Share a positive memory about your childhood with your parent

Smile at someone on the street

Call someone who you think may need encouragement

Invite a single to your Shabbos meal

Send an encouraging text to someone who you think may be in need of a lift

Hold the door for a stranger (yes, simple acts when someone is emotionally drained make a big difference)!

Let someone ahead of you on line (yes, sometimes I literally just didn’t have an ounce of energy left)

Pay for the drink of the person standing behind you.

Please sign up at [email protected] by writing “Challenge accepted”! We want to have 1000 people join in 48 hours.

Thank you in advance for helping me and so many others in this small way.

Devorah R.

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  1. What an amazing initiative!
    I can certainly attest to seemingly “ normal “ people who have tremendous struggles.
    A Lakewood therapist

  2. Devorah, hats off to you!!! I’m awed!! Major challenge accepted for me!!! The small things we can do that don’t cost money…thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

  3. U are amazing that you took a hard situation in your life and creating something that will enhance the world! What a great idea! Kol hakovod!

  4. I would like to add that acting kind to yourself is also important! By acting to ourselves we can act kind to others and accepts other people’s kindness towards us! Thank you Devorah. I am part of Chazkeinu (From Elisheva’s earlier discussion last week) and I asked them to send their link in their weekly emails that goes to over 400 people daily so I am hoping we can even more then 3,000 this week! You are Changing the world!

  5. All these Derech Eretz Middos should be second nature, even first nature!
    Practice a few until it’s hergel and you’ll never want to change. This works both ways! Great post. This is one area where we can all do better. Courtesy is king.

  6. Hi. Can people reading this please join this challenge? I know Devora personally and it will really be nice to have people join. Starbucks pulled out of being Kosher and there are 1900 people who signed the petition within hours. Can we try to show the same enthusiasm to join a cause of doing three simple kind acts a day for seven days?? Thanks to all who already joined!

  7. Eli is absolutely right. YOUR IDEAS FOR ACTS OF KINDNESS is superb. People not well if it is emotionally stressed or physically not well can always use some act of kindness, Another thing for instance to give somebody a smile .say good morning. let somebody in line to go ahead of you etc. makes you feel good too. I know because I have being doing it all
    my life. And the person that you try to make feel better does not have to be a Heimisher so to speak you should do it for everybody whether that person is a Yid or not. Its still a very big MItzvah, Another thing some the above you can even do on Shabbath too, SO good night everybody. And be good to each other, .

  8. Why not get a service dog for your problem. Service dogs can help with mental disorders far better then any meds. I should know because I have a service dog and I suffer from PTSD,ANXIETY,DEPRESSION,ETC.
    I would be happy to help with this as I’m a trainer.

  9. @ Kathryn

    Yes, psychiatric service dogs are very useful with their works and tasks they can provide. But they require specialized training and there aren’t as many handlers/breeders/trainers available for psychiatric needs (NOT INCLUDING PTSD) than dogs for the Blind, dogs for the Deaf, mobility assistance, autistic children, seizure response, low-glucose response, etc.

    I’ve done research for psychiatric service dogs for anxiety and schizophrenia (specifically for psychosis, such as hallucinations) and at least for me, I was unable to find as many NJ providers than not. Maybe you know more about it?

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