On the 17th of February, strange things are going to start happening. People are going to start doing unexpected favours for others – often people they don’t even know. They won’t all be grand gestures or major cash-splashes. Just simple, everyday good deeds to remind us all that we really are in this together. It’s called Random Acts of Kindness Day, and it’s going global.

Celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Day on the 17th of February is, technically speaking, an American thing. In Canada, it falls on the 4th of November, while New Zealand celebrates it on the 1st of September. Honestly, though, the principle’s the same regardless of the date. It’s about “paying it forward” at a time when a lot of us are quietly struggling – and you’re probably doing it already, even if you don’t realise it. It can be as simple as giving a good online review to your plumber or pizza delivery person, or babysitting your sister’s kids to give her a night off. If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, you might buy an extra coffee or sandwich and give it to a homeless person – or even simply pay for what the person behind you in the queue’s getting. Maybe you’d prefer to keep your kindness under the table. Simple: there are charities covering the elderly, children, Armed Forces veterans and so much more. Find something that’s meaningful to you and throw an occasional fiver at it. You won’t solve all the world’s problems overnight, but you’ll be pulling in the right direction – and enough people doing that can accomplish practically anything.

A lot of people still have a hard time admitting when they’re having problems. In the UK, for instance, men working in the building trade are 3 times as likely to commit suicide as the national average. Sometimes, all it takes are a few kind words to show people that they’re not alone, and to convince them to accept the help they need. Just knowing that someone’s looking out for you can make all the difference when it comes to taking that critical first step.

Obviously, no one’s expecting you to save a life every time you step outside your front door. All it takes to be a Random Act of Kindness “RAKtivist” is that you try to keep other people in mind once in a while. Our own Refer a Friend scheme’s a perfect example. It costs nothing to give someone that first nudge toward getting back the tax they’re owed (in fact, it actually makes you money to do it), but a tax rebate could be worth thousands to them.

Random Acts of Kindness Day is gathering momentum with each passing year – and it’s having a real impact on everything from food banks to mental health. Research even says that being kind to others increases your own happiness – so it’s a legitimate win/win proposition. Keep an eye out for opportunities to push a little more kindness into the world. You could be making a bigger difference than you realise.