Do you feel like you’ve become cynical? Do you want to do more good in the world? These websites and apps help you tap the kindness within you and be a better person.
The rough knocks of life can make us put up our defenses and forget about the kindness that is in all of us. But with a gentle nudge, kindness can be learned like a skill. You can do one small act every day or week, or follow a month-long mantra, or practice a meditation all about kindness. Whichever path you choose, these free apps will help you be kind to everyone around you.
1. 12 Kinds of Kindness (Web): 12-Step Program to Become Kinder
New Yorkers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman created a 12-step experiment to confront their own apathy and selfishness. Their idea was to take 12 common rules of kindness and live by them for 12 months. This is a blog chronicling what happened, and a guide for others who want to be kinder in everyday life.
For example, they spent one month being more aware of the world around them, and another month following the “kill them with kindness” principle. Can you actually get along better with a difficult person if you practice being nice and empathetic towards them? You’ll find out in the duo’s separate journeys, which are riveting reads.
Jessica and Timothy are like most of us who don’t actively practice kindness and are more caught up in our own self-interests. But living by one simple mantra for a month, their attitude changed and they found themselves becoming more empathetic people. It’s a powerful 12-step program that anyone can incorporate. Like most such experiments, it’s best if you start a digital journal to see how you change in your journey.
2. BeKind (Android, iOS): Daily Suggestions for Acts of Kindness
Kindness is a skill that you can develop like a good habit. If you do it regularly, kindness will become second nature to you. BeKind is a mobile app that suggests a random act of kindness to perform every day.
Once it suggests an activity, you’re free to do it immediately or later. Log your thoughts about the act by commenting or adding a picture. You earn BeKind coins for all your good acts, and can even use these to sometimes skip an activity that doesn’t apply to you or you’re disinterested in.
The app tracks all the acts you do, even maintaining a habit streak of your kindness. You can connect with other users of the app for a social experience, egging each other on to do better.
BeKind also has a news section where it tracks good news and uplifting stories about kindness. It’s a nice pick-me-up when you want to see the kindness that is inherent in so many humans across the world.
3. Kindful Life (Email): Weekly Kindness Inspiration
Kindful Life is a weekly newsletter that nudges you towards being more compassionate and kind towards others. Every Monday, you’ll get a new suggestion for an act of kindness that you can do easily to brighten someone’s day.
The acts are easy, like delivering fresh-baked cookies to someone, buying a coffee for the person behind you, or telling friends or family that you love them. It’s about making someone else feel valued, which in turn also gives you a warm fuzzy feeling.
The community believes that kindness spreads like a virus, and all you need is a reminder. The simple act of reading the newsletter’s suggested act and having it in the back of your mind will subconsciously push you towards doing good.
4. Kind Cloud (Web): No-Sound Meditation for Loving-Kindness
The Loving-Kindness meditation, also known as metta meditation, is a 10-minute daily practice to tap into one’s propensity for kindness. Kind Cloud is a step-by-step loving-kindness meditation web app with no sound, only text to guide you through.
Choose whether you want a short, medium, or long meditation, and the topics you want to focus on: kindness, happiness, safety, ease and peace, mental well-being, and health. Then go through the app’s steps to follow the principles of loving-kindness meditation. Use the left and right arrow keys to go back and forward.
You’ll need to voice out certain thoughts aloud, so you might want to be in a private space while practicing this. Kind Cloud is completely free and works as advertised.
If you prefer audio guides instead, then the University of Berkeley’s Greater Good Institute offers a free loving kindness meditation guide. It’s a 15-minute audio guide and comes with a full transcript too.
5. Butterfly Coins (Web): Coins to Inspire the Butterfly Effect of Kindness
Butterfly Coins is a cool concept to push kindness into the world. These are real physical coins, each with a unique identifying number. The idea is to pass the coin along while doing an act of kindness, which in turn will inspire the recipient to pay it forward.
The back of the coin encourages both the giver and the receiver to write about the act of kindness on the website. So over time, a single coin can exchange many hands and you’ll see a clear trail of how it pushed acts of kindness all across the world. These stories are the heart of the concept and make the website worth visiting.
The coin itself, made of brass and engraved with a butterfly, is a reminder to do good when you can. You can either purchase the coins from the website or hope to get one from someone and then pass it on.
Join an Online Kindness Community
The right app or site for you from this list depends on your outlook towards kindness, but don’t get too caught up in choosing. The path to self-improvement is fluid, and taking the first step is what matters more than how you start.
And once you start practicing kindness, you’ll notice people all around you being kind in different ways. The act itself fosters a connection between living beings and inspires a sense of community.