Health & Wellness

Valentine Kindness Day

Janet Moje
Valentine Kindness Day

This year Valentine’s Day coincides with Random Act of Kindness Week. Being single, I usually just ignore Valentine’s Day but the timing of these two events got me thinking. Why not participate in Valentine’s Day with a random act of kindness - a “Valentine Kindness Day”?

Not surprising, the selfless act of being kind and volunteering your time has health benefits. There is research that shows helping others increases your sense of well-being, builds emotional resistance, and reduces stress. It can be so powerful that it will help during difficult situations such as depression, overcoming addictions, or mourning a loss.

As an added bonus, you aren’t the only one who benefits. The receiver of your kindness will experience increased happiness as will any observers of the event. That warm, fuzzy feeling is known as “elevation” and it has a contagious effect.

Throw Kindness around like confetti

Research has shown that the brain’s neurological reward systems show similar activity when we win money, or when we donate money, or when we comfort a loved one. Spending money on others make us happier than spending the same amount of money on ourselves according to Elizabeth Dunn’s research at the University of British Columbia.

The phenomenon known as the “helper’s high” is real. Allan Luks’ study of 3000 people shows that 95% feel good when they help someone and it can last for days. His research concluded that those who help regularly are ten times more likely to be healthy than those who don’t.

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.”  – Aesop

Kindness also improves relationships. Even a kind word or gesture can change someone’s day, and it creates gratitude, bringing people closer and nurturing a relationship. Many studies have shown that kindness is attractive - we are all drawn to it. One reason for this is a kind person is also more empathic, being able to see someone’s perspective. Being heard and understood is the glue in a relationship.

Acts of kindness changes us. Each time we help someone, even if it is only something small, it changes our levels of confidence, compassion and feelings of usefulness - our self worth. As we interact with others, we start seeing things in a more positive light. We give people the benefit of the doubt and see how we are interconnected. We become more trusted and liked.

“For it is in giving that we receive.”  – St. Francis of Assisi

Whether you have a significant other or not, this Valentine’s Day consider doing a random act of kindness or two. Share the happiness and get healthy at the same time!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Let someone ahead of you in a line
  • Offer to babysit to give a couple a night out
  • Leave a generous tip at the restaurant
  • Donate to the food bank
  • Give a compliment
  • Write a letter to someone in the military overseas
  • Drop off reusable items at the trade shack
  • Shovel someone’s driveway
  • Leave a gift on a neighbour’s doorstep
  • Deliver snacks to the fire department
  • Visit a senior
  • Send someone a thank you card or email
  • Smile at a stranger

 Have a Happy, and Kind, Valentine’s Day!