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9-Day Kindness Challenge

POPSUGAR / paid for by / DoubleTree by Hilton : find your happy

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There's nothing better than receiving kindness when you least expect it. We've partnered with DoubleTree by Hilton to prove that nice travels.

We all lead busy lives, and sometimes we forget to practice one of the most important human behaviors: kindness. For nine days, I challenged myself to be kind to strangers and loved ones alike in big and small ways. It wasn't time-consuming or costly, and the rewards held the greatest value. Keep reading to learn how a little kindness can go a long way.

Day 1: Leave a nice note for someone.

My roommate, who I've known since childhood, is such a supportive and encouraging friend. To show my appreciation for all she does, I left her a handwritten note on our kitchen table before leaving for work, which makes an important statement in today's tech-focused world.

Day 2: Help a neighbor carry bags.

On my way home from the gym, I arrived at the door of my building and noticed an older woman who lives on my floor carrying a few bags. I offered to take them from her and bring them upstairs. It was no sweat off my back and when we see each other now, it's like we have a newfound friendship, which is awesome.

Day 3: Cook a meal for someone.

A friend of mine has very demanding work hours, and sometimes she gets home way later than I ever have. So I decided to cook dinner and bring it over for her — one less thing she needs to do after returning home from a long day at the office. She was so taken aback and it felt great to do something simple yet impactful for her.

Day 4: Pick up a friend at the airport.

My friend was coming in from out of town and she was planning on taking a taxi into the city. She had no idea I would be at the airport, so she was completely surprised and excited when she saw me waiting at baggage claim.

Day 5: Pay for the person in line behind you.

On my morning coffee run, I told the cashier that I wanted to pay for the person behind me. I stuck around and watched her reaction, which at first seemed a little confused, but then a grin appeared and it felt cool to put a smile on someone else's face.

Day 6: Surprise loved ones with a visit.

I hadn't spoken to my grandparents in a couple of weeks, so I decided to surprise them with an unexpected visit and brought over lunch. I could tell how excited they were to see me and spend time together, and I know that I made their day just by popping in, which in turn made mine!

Day 7: Give up your seat for someone.

It was rush hour and the subway car was beyond packed. I noticed a woman with her young child walk onto the train, and they both seemed very overwhelmed. So I tapped her on the shoulder and offered her my seat. The look of relief and gratitude on her face said it all.

Day 8: Put a grocery cart back where it belongs.

Having to return your grocery cart back to its original spot after a shopping trip seems like a simple task, but for some reason people tend to leave them in inconvenient places after using them. So after my weekly grocery run, I returned not only my cart, but also a few other stray carts back where they belonged.

Day 9: Hold the elevator at work.

I can't count the number of times I've walked into the lobby of my office building and missed the elevator by the skin of my teeth. I think to myself, "If the people already in the elevator had just held the door for me, I would've made it." This inspired me to make a conscious effort to keep the door open for others coming in behind me.

At the end of nine days, I wanted to extend the challenge because it was so fulfilling. I didn't feel like I was actively trying to do random acts of kindness anymore, but rather making these small gestures without thinking twice. I now pay more attention to things that I can do to make someone else's day better instead of just mine. The sum of all these experiences has raised my awareness of the power of nice and I hope that the people on the receiving end of my actions are inspired to keep the positivity going.

More From DoubleTree by Hilton

DoubleTree by Hilton believes that nice is contagious. It starts with a warm chocolate chip cookie but doesn't stop there! You'll find that the niceness you experience stays with you – and chances are, you'll want to pass it on. Share your stories of niceness with us using #NiceTravels.