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Spread the Love

Here are 21 quick ideas to share affection with the people who matter to you most. Because who doesn't love feeling loved?
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Woman in empty warehouse hugging red heart made of balloons
Woman in empty warehouse hugging red heart made of balloons

Valentine's Day is a perfect reminder of the the stress-curbing, resilience-building power of love in all its forms. Connecting to and supporting people is, after all, a hallmark of resilience.

Here are 21 quick ideas to share affection with the people who matter to you most. Because who doesn't love feeling loved?

1. Say "I love you" to someone who needs to hear it. These three words have the power to change someone's day. Tell someone--maybe it's your child, your best friend, or yourself--just how much you care.

2. Let it go. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is forgive and forget. The next time a loved one makes a mistake, focus on how much they care and what they do well--instead of the slip up. Here's some advice to help you.

3. Celebrate the wins. Make a habit of sharing positive stories and good news with your family, friends, and coworkers--your joy is contagious!

4. Give a thoughtful compliment. It's nice to appreciate someone's appearance, but try acknowledging the less tangible, too. Compliment someone on how hard they worked on a project, or how well they responded to a tough moment.

5. Make a valentine. Coloring reportedly reduces stress in adults. So why not get crafty with construction paper and glue for some lighthearted fun?

6. Say thank you to a co-worker. Is there someone at work who always brightens your day? Let them know by bringing them a sweet or treating them to a coffee.

7. Spice up your vocab. "I love you" can sound overdone, especially if you say it in place of "see you later." How about, "Your smile makes me smile"? Here are 51 unconventional ways to tell someone you love them.

8. Get moving. Shared activities can deepen the well of positive experiences in your relationship. Try a walk, a yoga class, or simply an afternoon puttering in the garden with a loved one by your side.

9. Let your loved one sleep in. If good rest is scarce for your spouse or friend, let them load up on zzzz's. Keep the kids away; book him or her a hotel room; buy a soothing lavender pillow.

10. Support someone else's dream. Together, write down a goal for each of you, and three things you'll do to achieve it. Then write down three things you'll do to encourage the other.

11. Pick up the tab. No need to make a fuss. No strings attached. Just let the person you love know that this one's on you.

12. Mail a card. We all still love getting a real letter in the mail. Buy or make a card. Write your heartfelt, caring thoughts. Put it in an envelope with a stamp. Send it off!

13. Offer your shoulder. Sometimes, the people you love just need someone to keep them safe so they can fall apart for a few minutes.

14. Go with it. If your friend or partner loves romantic comedies, but you prefer sci-fi thrillers, make a date to see a romantic comedy. Your willingness to enjoy your loved one's interest is a powerful way to show you care.

15. Hold the door. You show caring in how you treat the people around you, whether they notice it or not. Take a second to keep the door open for the woman pushing the stroller, or the fellow glued to his phone.

16. Be an active listener. Let someone you love tell you what happened, start to finish. Put away your phone, pay attention, and ask questions.

17. Let someone help. Accepting help is just as important as offering it. Swallow your DIY pride and let a loved one pitch in.

18. Tickle your funny bone. With a friend, special someone, or a family member, plan a few hours to do things just to make you laugh--see a stand-up comic, watch a funny movie, try karaoke, play charades.

19. Accept your loved one as is. Your friend, spouse, or loved one surely has a habit you don't like. Today, stop fighting it, and simply love that person for who they are.

20. Take care of a chore. Completing simple errands, such as scheduling a furnace tune-up or getting the cars washed, is a quiet yet tangible way to show a loved one that you care and that you've got their back.

21. Love yourself. Sometimes we forget to treat ourselves with the love, respect, and kindness we have for others. Carve out some time to do something just for you-- because you deserve it!