Acts of kindness can fill a heart with joy and make a day a little brighter.

Thoughtful acts of courtesies and pleasantries create bridges of connection between individuals.

In today’s busy world, where the majority of folks are on the go and express their desire for more time in a day, it can be easy to lose sight of this basic quality.

But acts of kindness shine bright each and every day.

Doors are held for elders, compliments are paid to friends, coffees are purchased for strangers, smiles are shared as greetings by passersby, donations are given to food banks and change is offered up when a customer runs short of paying a bill in a checkout line.

Gifts are donated to those in need, like through the Santa Fund in New Milford during the holiday season, and warm beverages are given to the homeless downtown.

These simple acts of thoughtfulness spread love throughout the world.

Research shows that the practice of kindness benefits overall health, affecting our energy, happiness and lifespan.

Students in Tara Gee’s fourth-grade class at Sarah Noble Intermediate School in New Milford made special bracelets this holiday season as a reminder of the impactful role kindness plays in our lives.

The Wear the Kindness Bracelet Project began as random Post-it notes and compliments shared among students as a way to “foster a sense of community” in Gee’s classroom.

It blossomed when a group of students began making bracelets to give to others in the class and then expanded it to all of Sarah Noble during the month of December.

Students create, manage and deliver kindness bracelets to those who would like them.

Ben’s Bells in Connecticut is succeeding in its mission to teach individuals and communities about the positive impacts of intentional kindness and to inspire people to practice kindness as a way of life.

The organization’s “Be Kind” logo and/or bells are placed randomly in communities — on a grocery cart, a tree in a park, on a restaurant table, a newspaper rack, a hospital lobby, at a bus stop, a park bench or on an office desk. They can be found almost anywhere.

The world is filled with more kind-hearted individuals than not.

Two weekends ago a gentleman and I struck up a friendly conversation after we each demonstrated kindness at Dunkin’ Donuts.

He held the door open for me as I entered and I offered to let him go ahead of me in line, since he had been there first. He declined.

In an ironic twist, he then refused my offer to pay for his breakfast, stating he had a “big order” and that he should instead pay for mine.

I asserted my belief that he, too, deserves to be the recipient of a kind act. Everyone does.

While we waited for our orders, we struck up a conversation about his canine friend who waited patiently in his vehicle, and about how kindness brightens a day.

I called him out when his “big order” of a large coffee was ready. We laughed, introduced ourselves and smiled as we parted.

The brief encounter at Dunkin’ Donuts was just one of thousands in which I’ve participated, experienced or witnessed throughout my life.

Consider the number of posts shared on social media by individuals who issue thanks to the anonymous driver who paid for their coffee at a drive-thru.

I read several a week, and often those posts are tied into a pay-it-forward act started by one individual on a given day. That means one simple, kind act moved others to do the same.

Who knows how many lives were touched by that one gesture?

Being mindful, thoughtful and intentional through acts of kindness helps spread light in our world.

Be the spark!

P.S. Jerry, I might not have been able to buy your coffee, but I sure can give you a shout out here.

Deborah Rose is a lifelong New Milford resident who has worked at The Spectrum since its inception in 1998. She can be reached by email at drose@newstimes.com.