While most people are focusing on chocolate, flowers, and teddy bears today, we want to throw in a little research that just might bring you and your family a little closer.  Maybe it’ll motivate you to perform random acts of kindness, too, for love and caring for others is the answer to longevity.

A recent study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior found that people who occasionally watched and cared for others lived longer than people who didn’t. Some studies have shown caregiving can improve a grandparent’s cognitive functioning and risk for depression. But the authors of the new study have shown that caregiving may provide a health benefit for people even outside of family ties.

The researchers found that grandparents who watched their grandchildren, and older adults who helped their adult children, were more likely to be alive 10 years after their first interview at the start of the study. Among the people who did not provide this type of care, half of the group died five years after the start of the study.

Even outside the family, providing care had a longevity benefit. Among older adults who provided care for someone in their social network, about half lived for seven years after the initial interview. The people who didn’t only lived an average of four years later.

The study can’t confirm that caring for someone definitely increases lifespan, but evidence has long suggested that having a social circle can improve a person’s outcome. The researchers believe the positive emotions experienced from helping others may combat the negative effects of emotions like stress.

We admire every last one of you for caring about yours and others’ wellbeing, and we hope to help you all achieve optimal health.

See the full, original article here.