Last week I received a love letter in the mail from one of my Culinary Nutrition grads. It served as pure soul fuel. We've been working really hard this summer getting ready and set for the revamped Culinary Nutrition Expert Program and, well, this token of appreciation for what we do reignited the sparks. There is really nothing better than getting a love letter in the mail. And the photo above - that is my collection. I read, and cherish and keep all of them. If the kitchen had a fireplace, they'd be lined up on the mantel! (Mental note: look into getting a fireplace mantel installed.)
I feel pretty fortunate to get to be doing the work I do. And as much as I enjoy all of this, it would be empty without your very important participation.
See, the act of both showing and receiving gratitude, love and appreciation have been scientifically shown to improve mental and emotional wellbeing. And when mental and emotional health is supported, our physical health tags right along.
Health Benefits of Writing Love Letters
Sending love letters, or simply random acts of kindness to strangers, has been shown to alleviate symptoms of social anxiety and invites people to feel more at ease and connected to those around them.
In the event that you don't click and read this full report on the health benefits of experiencing love-infused letter writing, I'll provide the short-hand notes for you.
- Engaging in joyful activities such as love may activate areas in the brain responsible for emotion, attention, motivation and memory, and supports stress reduction.
- The nervous system pattern in the brain appears to exert protective effects throughout the body, including the on the brain itself.
- Anxiety-reducing effects of pleasurable experiences may occur by promotion of an inhibitory tone in specific areas of the brain.
- Love and pleasure are capable of stimulating health, well-being and (re)productivity!
One of the most random-seeming benefits of writing love letters included a reduction in cholesterol. We know about molecules of emotion and how feelings of gratitude can result in biochemical changes. There is clearly a similar mechanism at play when it comes to writing a love letter, which is really a written expression of gratitude for what someone else gives us or brings into our lives.
Drop It In The Mail LIKE WE USED TO DO
We can see very clearly the benefits for the person who has the pen (or rainbow pack of markers) in hand doing the writing, addressing, and mailing. What's really amazing is that so rarely do our own health practices have such a direct positive impact on the people we love most. The person who is the recipient of that letter (assuming they want to be the recipient of your love, and you're not being a jilted kookoo ex), also gets a mood boost and the best kind of surprise.
Love letter writing and receiving is a mutually beneficial health boost.
It takes only moments of your time and there is absolutely nothing better than opening your mailbox to find an old school letter in a pink or blue or earthy envelope made of recycled paper and flower seeds that you can plant and grow flowers with. It is hand addressed to you and you look in the corner to see who it might be from. Instantly, you feel loved, important, cared for and excited to have mail that's not your wireless bill or something from the government.
It doesn't matter what the packaging looks like - it's what you write that matters. Your words, not Hallmark's, are where the power comes from.
I have a love letter for you, and a challenge down below...
Though you and I may never meet in person, may never hang in the park sipping green juice or be able to meet-up for a bike ride or a yoga class, know that you matter to me. Every time I sit down at my computer to compose a new blog post, or write the opening lines in my weekly newsletter, it is you I am thinking of. When I am in my kitchen, creating a new recipe, it's all about you.
I know that I don't know you that well, but I have guessed a few things about you. I believe that you are someone looking to live a next level kind of life, where you care about your health, and in turn the planet you live on. You're interested in having a positive impact on the world. If you've been with me for a while, and I haven't seriously offended you, than you also have a sense of humour. I like to think you're generally happy, though always looking for ways to improve your wellbeing and perhaps helps those you love.
In short, I think you're really awesome and unique. You inspire me every day to work really hard and to keep learning, growing and evolving. I am forever grateful for the inspiration you have brought into my life I want to thank you for your love and support.
The 5-Day Love Letter Challenge
For the next 5 days, I will be writing love letters. Join me. Here's how it works.
- Choose 5 recipients (this can be five people you know, or five total strangers, or a mix of all of them).
- Choose your medium and get supplied - are you sending cards, drawings, or posting random sticky notes?
- Set aside 25-45 minutes to compose your notes all at once or 5-10 minutes/day.
- Write your notes.
- Address them, mail them, hand-deliver them or post them - once a day for five days.
And if you want to join the group challenge and share with the community, we'll be on instagram with #undietlovenotes