February is the month that reminds us to love one another and express that love. It invites to show others we love and appreciate them, in our personal/professional lives, but also to the community at large. The only question that remains is how we will answer the call?
Why Answer the Call
Adoration and gratitude are powerful emotions to express. In fact, according to research from Arizona State University: “Communicating our positive feelings for others through words or actions offers a wide range of health benefits. These include lower stress hormones, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system.” The research goes on to say that “these benefits happen when affection is expressed, not merely felt.”
When we cultivate a habit of constantly expressing these emotions and positive thoughts with one another, we benefit but it also helps to boost relations, make others feel good, and spread benevolence. Arguably that last point is reason enough to answer the call, especially in a world where many of us are feeling isolated and hatred is on the rise.
Answering the Call 365
Now that we are pumped and ready to answer the call all year long, how do we do it? Before we dive into 5 key ways in which we can make the spirit of Valentine’s day live within us, let’s go over a few key pieces of information to keep in mind.
- We can show love and appreciation to anyone, even strangers
- Words are great but actions are better
- Schedule time in to express these emotions regularly, and intentionally
Top 5 Ways to Keep the Love Alive 365
Write gratitude letters and send them to the people we are grateful for. These letters can go to veterans in a homeless shelter reminding them they have worth, to an author whose book changed our life, or family/friends who are there for us, and everyone in between.
Commit a random act of kindness. Some examples of these acts include paying for coffee for the person behind us line, giving out flowers at a nursing home, volunteering at a onetime event, and offering a massage to a loved one.
Hug more and longer! We can make an intentional effort to hug the ones we love and care for more often. Science also suggests that we will see health benefits and that humans need “4 hugs a day for survival” and “12 hugs a day for growth.”
Handwritten love letters to ourselves and others. Self-love and the expression of it is just as important as reminding those we care about why we do and how much they mean to us. Writing these letters when we feel down about ourselves or anger with the people we love are an amazing time to write such letter; it will help lower to cortisol levels and change our emotional state.
Use words as a tool to uplift others. Communication is key. When someone does something nice for us, when we admire a trait, when we love someone, and any fill in the blank… express it. By doing this we make sure those around us know exactly how we feel.
Showing love all year long is pretty easy once you get started. And it sparks more sharing and gets even easier as you keep it going. Pick one of the five ways to answer to call to share love and try it out!
By Mona Nyree Stephens, contributing author
We invite you to discover inspiring and effective ways to care for yourself and to serve others. Now more than ever, caring is what we all need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life now demands caring, resilience and compassion like never before. So, become a Custodian of the Caring Movement and help create the world we need right now, the world we want for our future generations.