A look at the benefits of the ALS ice bucket challenge and how it helps inspires acts of kindness.

Over the last couple of weeks, social media has been taken over by a storm of people partaking in the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ in order to raise awareness and donations for the ALS Association. ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a neurological disease that affects nerves in the brain and spine, and ALSA are a nonprofit trying to find a cure. Since the 29th July, they have received $41.8 million in donations, thanks to the widespread popularity of the challenge amongst celebrities, with everybody from Ricky Gervais, Lady Gaga, and Victoria Beckham, to Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and former president George W. Bush taking part. You can see 60 of the best celebrity challenges here

There has been a lot of debate about The Ice Bucket Challenge, especially on social media, but at its core it is simply an idea that has brought people all over the world together to form a kind, selfless community, determined to helping better the lives of thousands more. It has inspired and encouraged people to do something that is going to make them uncomfortable, if only for a few minutes, to benefit others who are suffering every day.

However, the acts of kindness don’t need to stop once the popularity of this challenge has died down. Donating to charity is incredibly selfless, but there are also countless other ways, big and small, to spread kindness and love to people every day, and here are just a few ideas:

  • Give somebody on the street a blanket, a warm piece of clothing, or some food. It is much more satisfying to see exactly how you’re benefiting somebody than just handing over some change.
  • Visit a blood bank and donate, and sign up for the organ donation register. Small acts which could have big effects on others.
  • Help somebody carrying heavy shopping, open a door for somebody, give up your seat on the train. Witness somebody struggling and help lighten their burden.
  • Direct somebody who is lost. 
  • Send a bunch of flowers to a friend you know is having a rough time.
  • Write a letter to somebody important in your life, and tell them exactly why you love them.
  • Randomly compliment somebody on the street. Bound to brighten their day.
  • Pay for the person behind you in a queue. Encourage them to pay it forward.

There are countless ways to practice kindness. Comment below with your experiences of kind acts, and help us spread joy by sharing this article with your friends! Find out more about ALSA and what they do here.

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