February is known as American Heart Month – a month to focus on heart wellness as well as matters of the heart with Valentine’s Day and National Random Acts of Kindness Day.
Celebrated since the 14th Century, Valentine’s Day has served as an annual reminder to reflect on those with whom we share love and to demonstrate in some way our sincere thankfulness for others’ affections.
I remember exchanging those Valentine’s Day cards in Mrs. Crawford’s first grade class at Central Elementary in Lewisville many years ago. Filling my classmates’ decorated shoe boxes was a tradition that served as an opportunity to show appreciation for friendship and to let others know how much we care.
In times of stress and strife, taking time to demonstrate kindness and consideration to others in our lives becomes even more important – both to them and for ourselves.
Whether friends, family or even strangers, these acts of kindness can truly make a difference in someone’s day and even in their lives. And it can have a boomerang effect on the giver.
Something as simple as a compliment or as significant as a dozen roses can achieve the same result – showing someone you care.
Research has shown that performing random acts of kindness can boost heart health. Acts of kindness are good for the body, increasing self-esteem, empathy and compassion and improving mood as well as decreasing blood pressure and cortisol, a stress hormone which directly impacts stress levels, according to the Mayo Clinic Health System. High levels of cortisol can create inflammation which in turn can increase heart disease.
In addition, kindness shown to others can increase oxytocin, a hormone that lowers blood pressure and dilates blood vessels, both of which improve cardiovascular health.
On Feb. 17, which is National Random Acts of Kindness Day, consider boosting your own health and make someone’s day special at the same time. Ideas from www.randomactsofkindness.org range from giving someone a gift card for a cup of coffee to writing a letter or sending a card to let someone know you are thinking of them.
As we say in Boy Scouts, “Do a Good Turn Daily.” We should try to live this way year round, not just this special day in February. It will help us be better people, build better communities and a better Denton County.
With American Heart Month in February, doing things to help heart health makes sense.
According to the American Heart Association, going for a walk, taking a power nap or practicing deep breathing can help manage constant stress which in turn may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Planning time with family and friends, taking more “me” time to relax and following guidelines for exercise and diet are great ways to stay heart healthy.
Learn more about heart healthy tips from the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.
However you choose to celebrate February, know if it comes from the heart that is all that matters.
Early Voting Begins Feb. 14
As a reminder, early voting for the March 1 Primary Election begins on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. To find out more information about times, dates and locations, visit: www.votedenton.gov/upcoming-election-information.
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If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is [email protected], and my office number is 940-349-2820. For more information, register for my newsletter at www.Dentoncounty.gov/countyjudgenewslettersignup