Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in February

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national-heart-month-american-heart-association-american-heart-monthThere are many problems we can’t individually solve, from a possible mega-drought in California to the entertaining-but-possibly-serious snafus at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. We can’t fix those head-scratching bathrooms in Sochi (!), but we can look around our own communities and find something we can fix, or at least take steps toward a positive resolution. Here are five ways you can help your own community or circle of influence in February.

1. Mend a Broken Heart: This is the 50th Anniversary of American Heart Month. The American Heart Association (AHA) is teaming up with Walgreens to offer free blood pressure screenings all during February. According to the AHA, unchecked blood pressure can seriously damage arteries, the heart and other organs. Get checked, and make sure those you love get checked, too. And consider readying yourself to one day save a life by signing up for a CPR course. The AHA offers many levels of training, including the basic “Friends and Family.” The AHA website allows you to search by zip code for classes, and you can even get CPR training online at your convenience. [Read more…]

Kindness is Good for the Heart

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Call it a Valentine’s Day/National Heart Health Month/Random Acts of Kindness Week mashup. Today’s post for Day 4 of Random Acts of heart-shaped-tomato-random-acts-of-kindness-week-kindness-is-good-for-your-heartKindness Week is all about why kindness is good for your heart.

I always assumed that kindness is good not only for the world at large, but for us personally. I know for me I always feel good inside when I offer kindness from a true and pure place, not just emotionally, but spiritually, and physically. I get a little lift in my mood, and my step is a little lighter. I’ve extrapolated that since I feel good in the moment, something must be going on inside my body that is inherently healthy.

Turns out there is solid research that confirms that assumption. And that research not only points to a momentary benefit, but a long-lasting benefit of a healthier heart when kindness is practiced regularly. David R. Hamilton, Ph.D., author of Why Kindness is Good for You, says keeping up acts of kindness will reduce your risk of heart disease over time, at least a little. [Read more…]