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Sharing the Love Beyond Valentine's Day

Experts say kindness stimulates "feel-good" chemicals in the brain that can improve a person's mood and reduce stress, anxiety and pain. (ReneeBigelow/Flickr)
Experts say kindness stimulates "feel-good" chemicals in the brain that can improve a person's mood and reduce stress, anxiety and pain. (ReneeBigelow/Flickr)
February 15, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Although Valentine's Day has passed, Ohioans are being encouraged to continue sharing the love. Random Acts of Kindness Day – Sunday, Feb. 17 – is celebrated by folks in Ohio and many other states.

Vince Caringi is a representative with Cleveland-based RAKE, which stands for Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere. The group promotes kindness and "paying it forward" every day of the year, which Caringi explains can benefit family, friends, strangers and even people with whom you disagree.

"An act of kindness allows you to now have a positive shared experience with another individual, regardless of what your prior history might have been with them,” says Caringi. “And that gives you something to build on in terms of a new type of positive, happy, healthy connection with that person."

And he notes no random act of kindness too big or too small. Some ideas include writing a note of appreciation to a co-worker, fostering an animal in need of adoption, planting a tree or perhaps starting a fundraiser to benefit a charity.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation promotes these ideas with online resources, including educational materials for teachers. The foundation's Director of Digital Strategy Rachelle Stubby explains there's a lot of power behind just one good deed.

"There's the effect of someone doing an act of kindness, and the recipient of that kindness,” says Stubby. “And the same type of impact is experienced by someone who witnesses that act of kindness. A simple act of kindness that can really change, at the moment, three people's lives."

As a clinical psychologist, Caringi explains being kind stimulates "feel-good" chemicals in the brain that can improve a person's mood and reduce stress, anxiety and pain. He adds it's okay to promote your own good deeds, too, because they might inspire others.

"We know especially young people really experience things around them as what we call a 'contagion effect,' so they see other people doing it and they want to do it,” says Caringi. “We see a lot of examples of that being bad things, so we want to do good things. So, maybe we can make that contagious for kindness."

Random acts of kindness can be shared online and tagged '#RAKDAY' or '#RAKE.'


Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest, and funded in part by The George Gund Foundation.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH