Valentine’s Day: A Behavioral Health Perspective

By, Travis Hall Ph.D.

Holidays, like much of human experience, is largely informed by the meaning such events hold for individuals, couples, and communities. Valentine’s Day is no different and often evokes a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We can imagine the experiences and meaning of Valentine’s Day for newly-formed couple in love. However, we can also imagine the experiences and meanings of Valentine’s Day for a widow, for those struggling with a break-up, or for those who find themselves lonely or unloved. There is no “true” meaning of Valentine’s Day and it is easy to think of flowers, chocolates, and diamonds (though this is by no means necessary). Granted these traditions, this holiday can serve a deeper purpose as a helpful reminder that taking care of the health of our relationships is just as important as taking care of our physical health (and they are often intertwined).

If you find yourself in happy, healthy relationships then take the occasion to let those people know what they mean to you and to celebrate! It is important to remember that demonstrating and expressing affection does not require buying things. However, if you find that your relationships could use some work or that you desire a relationship that is missing in your life, do not despair. You are not alone and there are steps that one can take to move towards the kind of relationships you desire. There is no perfect formula for obtaining and maintaining relationships, however, most people agree that awareness of your own needs, awareness of the other person’s needs, and healthy communication about those needs are fundamental. Although it may involve some effort and risk, becoming active to improve our relationships increases the chances of being successful.

In the pursuit of happy and healthy relationships, Happy Valentine’s Day!