It’s the middle of winter, and summer seems too far off to be real. So, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to get excited about something, let’s say … love and relationships!
Feeling positive emotions, like love, does great things for our hearts. But it doesn’t stop with the heart. There are lots of reasons to open our hearts to Cupid’s arrow—or gratitude, friendship, and family.
The myth is that Valentine’s Day is all about romantic love, but that’s not necessarily so. Social connections with friends and family offer tons of health benefits too. Whether it’s romantic love or shared love with family, friends, or even pets, there’s a lot to celebrate this February 14.
Don’t forget Fido!
Showing some love to your pet can come with amazing health benefits—for you and for your cuddly (or not-so-cuddly) pet. Yes, even loving your lizard can translate to good news for <you> including
- reductions in blood pressure
- lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- reduced stress and fewer feelings of loneliness
- greater opportunities for exercise and outdoor time
- more social interactions
Don’t have a pet to love?
Even if you don’t have a pet living and loving with you, it’s still possible to get the benefits of that loving feeling by volunteering at your local animal shelter.
Writing from the heart
You might be surprised to learn that putting actual pen to actual paper to express your love and affection—or sending a caring message to a friend in need—might just elicit great health benefits for you. Writing can
- help you cope with emotions and complex situations
- lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- improve lung and liver function
- lower stress levels
- help you sleep better—and longer
Love letters in the age of COVID-19
During periods of isolation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new relationship with letter writing has flowered. Self-reflection, the yearning for connection, and happy memories of the past have inspired many people to pick up their pens to write letters to people in their lives—past or present.
Some organizations have even created letter-writing portals to help direct letters of inspiration and hope to those who live alone, including seniors and people with disabilities.