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Hearts of the Eastside

Love is in the air! Not only does Valentine’s Day fall in February, it is also National Heart Month. Hearts are the universal symbol of love, and as it turns out, giving and receiving love promotes heart health. The following are some of the health benefits of giving, with suggestions for simple ways to incorporate giving into your daily life.

Lower your blood pressure

Studies have shown that our blood pressure may decrease when we spend time with loved ones. It doesn’t have to be a romantic partner (though it could be). All kinds of social interactions with friends and family produce this healthy benefit, so make time to hang out.

Reduce your stress

When you hug someone, you show them how much you care, but it benefits you, too. Hugging releases oxytocin, a hormone that reduces stress and anxiety. So hug your kids, your spouse, your parents, your friends and even your pets. It’s good for everyone.

Manage your cholesterol level

Writing a love letter or another expression of gratitude has surprising benefits for your heart. Studies have even shown that spending time writing notes of gratitude to friends, family or other loved ones may reduce your cholesterol level. Get out your pen or fire up your email and make someone’s day.

Live longer

When you extend your love to encompass your whole community by volunteering or making philanthropic gifts, a host of health benefits follow. Those who give experience lower blood pressure, increased happiness, less depression and even longer life. One study showed that people over 55 who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44% less likely to die in the next five years compared with people who didn’t give their time. Giving releases endorphins that make you feel good, much like hugging someone does. 

Care for your family

Sending love improves your heart health and is also good for the hearts of the people receiving it. And, hugs are free. 

Caregiver Hearts

Overlake has long been the proud recipient of Eastside love. The challenges of the past two years have been met by even more support from our incredible community. Our caregivers have been especially beloved, and deservedly so. Donors have contributed to emergency relief for staff members, discretionary funds for small items that make caregivers feel appreciated, funds that ensure staff have professional development opportunities and more. Thank you for the support—it’s good for all of our hearts.

To learn more about supporting Overlake caregivers, please email the Foundation at or call us at 425.688.5525. 

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