Gratitude Is Magic

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About a year ago I was stuck. Full of anger, jealousy, comparison, a feeling of lack in my life. I was focused on this feeling of not having resources to do what I felt made me happy. I was unhappy with the community I lived in, and felt stuck. I was jealous of my friends I saw in my Instagram and Facebook feed. It seemed they were all traveling all over the world and working on such cool and meaningful projects. I was frustrated I didn’t know what my purpose in this world was. What was I put here to do? Can you relate to any/all of these things? It hit me one morning I had created habits of negativity. Each new negative habit I had created for myself led to even more negative habits. It was a vicious cycle and I realized I needed to replace my negative habits with positive ones. In came gratitude...

It was here that I stumbled upon a book called One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp. She used a gratitude list to help pull her out of a deep depression. She just kept notebooks all over the place and literally filled them with all the things she was grateful for. I wanted to try this out, but I realized very quickly my list was filled with people I’d shared experiences with throughout my life, or folks who’ve impacted me in some way.

So, I started writing one gratitude letter a day to a friend, family member or kind soul who’s loved me when I needed it most. Notes filled with all the things I love about the people in my life. Lists of things I love about them, why they’re so awesome and how they’re impacting the world.

Ponder this for a second. How many times do you think something rad about someone in your life? I’ll bet a lot. How many times do you then tell that special someone the radness you thought about them? I’ll bet not a lot.

And, here’s the deal. Gratitude is magic. My very unscientific description of the whole gratitude process:

  1. A positive message travels along a nerve in the brain and reaches the end of the nerve, it releases chemicals that are then picked up by the next nerve allowing the message to be carried on.
  2. These chemicals, or neurotransmitters, have a calming effect on the brain by increasing levels of other chemicals such as serotonin, which produces calm and peaceful feelings.
  3. The more genuinely positive messages that are sent, the more neurochemicals are released and received allowing for peace and contentment and happiness.

I’ve found since I started my gratitude letter writing practice I’m less aggressive, happier, more optimistic, I sleep better and I have a better control on dealing with stress. I’ve found more JOY in the little things and an appreciation for life that was missing before. Gratitude changes everything.

Want to get started on writing gratitude letters to those you love in your life? I have a 14 day Spread Joy Letter Writing Challenge filled with tips on how to get you started and prompts on what to say if you’re feeling stuck. All the details can be found at Josh Solar Loves You.

Join Josh in a movement to fill the world with gratitude and appreciation! Write a letter of gratitude right now! Tell us about your experience in the comments.

[jbox title="About the author:" border="5" radius="15"] Josh Solar is a giver of love, creator of art, and an influence for good in the world. If you love love, you will love his blog, Josh Solar Loves You, and keeping up with his amazing family at The Happy Family Movement. I highly recommend you check out his podcast episode on The Loveumentary as well.

Want to get the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge sent to your email inbox every day? Fill out this little form here:

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Your Love Has Transformed Me

The Last Love Letter Project is a series of hand-written love letters answering the following question:

If you could write only one last love letter to the person you love most, what would you say?

Participate in the Last Love Letter Project by writing your own letter and submitting it here.


Love Letters | The Loveumentary | Christin and Jordan Christin,

How is it we've only been together two years? It feels like a lifetime - of joy and openness and sharing and support. I suppose that's because even when you weren't there, I was looking for you. Reaching out for you in the cold, dark, loneliness. And suddenly a light came on and there you were. And the cold turned into warmth, the loneliness replaced by powerful intimacy. Slowly at first, but it has built and grown more strong and more secure. And now I can't imagine a life without you at the center of it.

You are my inspiration. My goal. I pull to you. Your love has transformed me - your passion transfixed me. The way you live and love inspires me. I want to give you back all the things you have given me: Support, kindness, understanding, forgiveness, correction, compassion, laughter, joy, my heart, and all my love.

-Jordan


If this letter gave you a warm fuzzy, you should definitely write one of your own. You won't regret it. And if you feel like sharing the love, submit it here:

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I Have Always Admired Your Shortness

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The Last Love Letter Project is a series of hand-written love letters answering the following question:

If you could write only one last love letter to the person you love most, what would you say?

Participate in the Last Love Letter Project by writing your own letter and submitting it here.


Dear Carson | The Loveumentary

Dear Carson,

I have always admired your shortness. I have also always thought that tall and short people look cute together. So, how about you and me?

I've had a crush on you for a long time... I'm sorry I haven't given you these letters yet, but hopefully you'll get them soon.

-A

P.S. I was in your class


If this letter gave you a warm fuzzy, you should definitely write one of your own. You won't regret it. And if you feel like sharing the love, submit it here:

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Love Bricks

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The Last Love Letter Project is a series of hand-written love letters answering the following question:

If you could write only one last love letter to the person you love most, what would you say?

Participate in the Last Love Letter Project by writing your own letter and submitting it here.


Love Brick | Joseph and Doreen | The Loveumentary

It is an ageless story (or, at least as old as high schools have been around). The story of two who meet in their formative years, sharing the same classes and circle of friends. In our case, that was for the best. For us, being friends before being sweethearts was, is, and will always be the basis of our love.

For us, it was Chemistry and Algebra II, neither of which I was one-half as good at as she was. She was way ahead of me in those classes from the start. She was a sophomore, and I was a junior. She was straight A’s; I was a B+ student too busy with clubs and school activities. Everyone knew who I was; her circle of friends was much smaller. Day-to-day contact at school (and, luckily, a seat next to her in Algebra II) gave our friendship the time to sprout. Connecting on an intellectual level first, then learning of our similar backgrounds, brought us to know where the other had come from and where we thought we were going in the future.

They say that opposites attract and if you were to compare our personalities – her the introvert, me…not – that would be true of us. The reality was, and we came to know it soon enough, that our respect for each other intellectually and our common background and values demonstrated we were more similar than different, especially given that those attributes undoubtedly extend beyond high school.

I am sure that when we started dating we must have seemed the odd couple. It started inauspiciously enough; she wanted to stay at the school dance later than pre-determined with her mother, so she asked a mutual friend – her “pseudo-big brother” - to help her find a ride home, which turned out to be me. After introducing me to her mother and giving the appropriate assurances of a safe ride home, we spent the remainder of the dance together. So began the timeless story, our timeless story. The year was 1974, the sophomore class-sponsored Sweetheart Dance. We danced “Soul Train” style to Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care of Business” and drove to her house listening to Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” on the eight-track stereo in my blue 1971 Mustang.

Although I was not as smart as her, I was smart enough to ask her for a date for the following Friday, March 1, 1974. I was not smart enough, however, to pick a better song for our first kiss – Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”. She would say that she knew I was the one by the hug I gave her at the end of the date. To this day, we laugh every time we hear, “Ouga Chaka, Ouga Ouga….”

Fast forward past the prom, college, marriage, children, tough times and better times, approaching forty years later, it is the laughing that keeps the love strong. Whether it’s good-natured fun at the other’s expense or, as we have developed quite the repertoire, inserting a favorite movie line into ordinary conversation, my heart sings when I hear her laugh.

She'll say, "Who forgot to close the door?" I'll respond, “Round up the usual suspects.”

Or, I'll ask, “What do you want for dinner?” She'll reply, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Laughter + Loyalty = Love. Our Story.


If this one gave you a warm fuzzy, you should definitely write one of your own. You won't regret it. And if you feel like sharing the love, submit it here:

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You Have My Whole Heart

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The Last Love Letter Project is a series of hand-written love letters answering the following question:

If you could write only one last love letter to the person you love most, what would you say?

Participate in the Last Love Letter Project by writing your own letter and submitting it here.


Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted. Alfred Adler

Benjamin,

Our love may be relatively new in the grand scheme of life, but I wouldn't want to practice "loving" better on anyone else but you.

We may be mis-matched on some things, but I consider it our character-building moments, and we DO laugh a lot!

If you are a bird, I'm a bird. You have my whole heart.

Love, Kate


If this one gave you a warm fuzzy, you should definitely write one of your own. You won't regret it. And if you feel like sharing the love, submit it here:

[jbutton link="http://loveumentary.com/love-letters/" halign="center" size="large" color="blue" rounded="no"]Submit Your Letter![/jbutton]