Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Stores are filled with displays that encourage people to show their love by purchasing a gift. The hype is overwhelming at times.

It makes us feel that we have to buy the perfect gift to show how much we care about someone.

This retail push is very real and produces some anxiety for individuals.

While Valentine’s Day is a huge day for florists, candy companies, and most retail store, the very act of doing a kind deed is better for a person’s health.

Research shows that doing nice things for others, acts of kindness, actually increases a person’s positive attitude.

Offering an act of kindness doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Perhaps you could shovel the snow from a neighbor’s sidewalk or visit a friend or relative in a nursing home.

It is the simple act of spending the time to show you care that really makes a difference. It also can make you feel better.

When people are kind to others, it not only improves the existing relationship but it also helps other relationships in your life.

It lowers anxiety levels and makes the individual who is performing the act of kindness happier.

Dr. Stephen Post of Stony Brook University of Medicine and the book The Hidden Gifts of Helping, discovered that when people give of themselves, they receive more self-satisfaction in their own lives.

The acts of kindness also has physical benefits such as lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety, and the release of oxytocin in the brain that makes us feel good.

This week, think about how the smallest acts of kindness in your life have made you smile. Then think of how you can share that feeling with others. If you are trying to think of new or different ideas for acts of kindness, there are hundreds of ideas on the internet or in books at the library.

Author Danny Wallace wrote the book Random Acts of Kindness and challenged readers to commit one act of kindness every Friday. It became a world-wide sensation and people from all over the participated. What kind of act of kindness would surprise and delight you? How can you give that feeling to someone else?

Valentine’s Day is just one day out of the year to express love and friendship. Let’s try to expand that in Ashtabula County and make the act of kindness a regular part of our lives.

Maybe you strive to do an act of kindness once a month, once a week or even once a day. It isn’t hard to share a smile, offer to run an errand for someone, or help with household chores. Just try being kind to someone each day.

The surprising outcome might be that people respond back with kindness when you least expect it.

Someone offers to watch your children, carry your groceries, or even just takes the time to tell you that they care about you.

Small act of kindness are everywhere, be welcoming to these unexpected blessings and smile.

Remember, education and prevention are keys to keeping our community safe, happy, and healthy.

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