Blue Eyed Sun

Blue Eyed Sun - gorgeous greetings cards

Thinking of You Week

  • Four Amazing Benefits of Thinking of You Week

    Thinking Of You WeekHow would you like to improve your mental and physical health, become more attractive and have more sex? Believe it or not these are some of the potential benefits of taking part in Thinking of You week this September.

    That’s because sending thinking of you cards is an act of altruism that is often rooted in empathy and/or compassion. Specifically, altruism is an action that benefits someone else. It’s different to empathy (our emotional experience of other’s feelings) and compassion (our emotional response to suffering and authentic desire to alleviate it). 

    If you have all three it can be good for you, good for others and even good for your business.

    It’s Good for You

    When we act generously towards others, we benefit as much as those to whom we are giving. The Dalai Lama playfully calls this “selfish altruism.” For example, a Harvard Study has shown that those who give contributions of time or money “are 42% more likely to be happy” than those who didn’t give  (Ask those who have contributed so far to my Mongolian fundraising and those that haven’t - the latter are definitely more miserable).

    For those that donate their time, psychologists have identified something called “helpers high”. Giving produces endorphins in the brain that produce a mild morphine type hit. Neuroscientists have even shown that the same part of our brain that lights up when we have sex is triggered by giving money to charity.

    It’s not just our minds that benefit, our bodies do too. Compassion can also protect us from stress, through a lower heart rate and lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) amongst other health benefits. Spending money on others may also lower blood pressure and those that volunteer have been shown to experience fewer aches and pains, better overall health and less depression. According to one study, older volunteers even have a significantly lower chance of dying.

    Taking part in thinking of you week might also improve your love life. One survey of 10,000 people across 37 cultures found that kindness is the single universal requirement and the most important criterion for choosing a mate. Altruists are considered more attractive than non-altruists and they also have more sex.

    Taking the time to focus on others rather than ourselves is undoubtedly good for us. What’s more important is that generous acts like sending a card are good for others too. 

    Good for Others

    None of us ever really know what’s going on inside other people’s minds. So often, those who appear to have everything we might might want in life, decide to end it all. These deaths are a tragic and important reminder for us to take care of one another and let each other know that we are loved. Even those who don’t go to suicidal extremes may still be suffering in silence behind masks of happiness, success, etc. If you love someone, care about them or think they’re great in any way then let them know. A few kind words in card can really brighten someone’s day.

    Royal Mail’s scientific study several years ago showed that mothers have a more positive emotional response towards greeting cards compared to electronic messages on social networks, via sms or email. They also felt twice the amount of happiness receiving a card or handwritten note to digital alternatives. Furthermore, a nationwide survey showed that a handwritten note is the main thing mothers want on Mothering Sunday.

    We all know how special it is to receive a handwritten card from someone who has taken the time to buy, write and post it to us. The 54 videos I made last year on the Greeting Card Project provides further anecdotal evidence of this. Card sending and acts of altruism in general have positive effects on the neuro-chemicals in our brains.

    Leaders that are generous, by giving time and energy for example, can alter the biochemistry of their team. Generous behaviour releases a chemical called oxytocin which creates intense feelings of comfort and security. What’s interesting is that oxytocin is released in the recipient, the giver and anyone who witnesses the sacrifice the leader makes.

    By this rational, the sender of a card the recipient and those that see cards on their loved ones mantlepieces might also all receive the same hit of oxytocin themselves. A great example of this is Stephen Kelly, the CEO of Sage Plc, who regularly sends cards to his team to thank them for projects they’ve worked on or contributions they’ve made. Many of them keep the cards on their desks for months afterwards. The knock on effects can be greater than first perceived.

    Sending cards is a powerful way to spread good feelings around the world and within businesses.

    Good for Business

    More and more consumers now want businesses to spread the love too. They want them to treat their employees and suppliers fairly, to be socially responsible in how they source their goods, sustainable with their impact on the environment, ethical in their behaviour and to contribute charitably to communities and causes they value. Essentially, companies that are kind are the more attractive and can generate more sales when this kindness is built into their brand dna.

    A study  published in the Journal of Business Ethics showed that charity might make corporations more valuable. What’s important in both business and personal altruism is that the gestures are not perceived as self serving. In other words, the altruism has to be authentic.

    Companies are using stories more and more to connect with their customers through their brands. People want these stories to reflect their values and the needs they relate to most. It’s important for businesses to recognise this shift and to embody values like contribution, community and the environment at the heart of their organisations. These are vales that resonate with all of us right now as we see more and more footage online and in the media on the effects of climate change, single use plastics and over consumption of resources. 

    Thinking of you week is a great opportunity for businesses to get involved and send cards to their employees, suppliers and customers to let them know they are special and appreciated. It’s a nice alternative to Christmas as it’s secular and not tied to a religious holiday. It’s simply a time to be grateful and kind to others.

    It’s Contagious

    Many studies have shown that altruism inspires more altruism. Even when the cascading ripple effects diminish over time the total result can be three times greater than the initial act of generosity. 

    In fact, I saw this first hand in my fundraising for the Christina Noble Foundation recently. One of my first donations was for £1,000. Soon after I had a second £1,000 donated by someone who was inspired by the first donation. This inspired others to donate higher amounts than I usually receive on fundraising endeavours. In line with one study on giving, the total raised was over three times greater than the initial large donation.

    Conversely, selfish behaviour can spread just as easily. When we behave selfishly this can have a negative effect on the behaviour of others that ripples outwards.

    So, we have a choice to make about how we live our lives and the impacts our actions have on others. 

    We can choose to be kind, generous and loving on a regular basis and have a positive ripple effect on those around us. We can do nothing. Or we can spread negativity.

    So, why not choose to spread a little love, send some cards during thinking of you week and create a ripple effect of love and kindness in the world. Who knows what might happen!

    5 Great Card Sending Initiatives

    Why Thinking of You Week Matters

    Free Downloads on the GCA Site

     

  • 5 Great Card Sending Initiatives Worth Sharing on Social Media

    Greeting Card Sending Initiatives

    The world is changing so fast that it's easy to forget the small pleasures in life, like buying and sending a card to someone. It's such a lovely gift to receive a card too.

    Here are five wonderful card sending initiatives that support more greeting card sending:

    Just A Card Campaign1. Just a Card

    I'm a big fan of the Just a Card campaign to support independent retailers and designer makers. The campaign reminds us all that even small purchases with our independent retailers can make a big difference. As can buying a card by an small publisher. Follow #JustACard on social.

    Thinking Of You Week 2017

    2. Thinking of You Week

    Thinking of You Week inspires people to create a wave of love, caring and happiness by sending greeting cards to different people during the week. Thinking of You Week runs from 25th September - 1st October 2017. I like this reminder to focus on others for a week  by sending more cards. Be sure to involved this September.

    Postmark Feel Good Friday

    3. Feel Good Friday

    Feel Good Friday is a brilliant card sending initiative from London retailer Postmark. To encourage more people send cards, Postmark offer a free card from a special box on certain Fridays, as long as you write it in the store there and then. They’ll even post anywhere in the UK for you for FREE! Visit the stores to find out more.

    The Greeting Card Project Initiative

    4. The Greeting Card Project

    Last year I realised that I don't send that many cards personally. As a New Year's Resolution for 2017 I decided change this. Each week I visit a different shop, buy cards and send them whilst sharing my experiences on YouTube and social media. This card sending initiative aims to inspire others to send more cards too. Follow The Greeting Card Project.

    Festive Friday 2017

    Festive Friday

    Festive Friday is on Friday the 1st December 2017. The aim is encourage card lovers to send their Christmas cards early. The idea is that this wave of sparkly Christmas card sending will get everyone in the Christmas card sending mood. We have a lot of fun with Festive Friday each year in our offices. Why not join in this year?

    If you love cards as much as we do, be sure to spread the word about these great initiatives.

    Sharing is caring so get involved on social media and share your stories about card sending.

    Will the Greeting Card Industry be Vaporised?

    14 Lessons learned making The Greeting Card Project

    Five ways to improve your Retail Business

  • Thinking Of You Week 2016 starts 26th September

    Thinking Of You Week 2016Thinking of You Week 2016 is the Greeting Card Association's campaign to send a card a day and create a worldwide wave of love, caring and happiness during the last week of September each year. This year Thinking Of You Week runs from the 26th September to the 2nd October 2016.

    More people than ever are getting involved in Thinking of You Week 2016 including retailers, publishers, suppliers, schools, charities and individuals all organising special activities to promote this exciting event and to create that special feel-good wave.

    Below is a a flyer that you can download and print out for your shop window display. Just drag the image to your desktop or right click on your mouse and save. The GCA are also giving a prize for the Best Event and Best Window Display to retailers so be sure to share your images on social media using #ThinkingOfYouWeek for a chance to win!

    Feel free to download the banner from the top of this page by right clicking and selecting 'save image as' to add it to your desktop. From there you should be able to use it as a cover image for your Facebook and Twitter pages during the months of August and September.

    We'd love to share what you are doing for Thinking of You Week 2016 so do let us know what you get up to.

    Why you should care about Thinking of You Week

    Download the GCA Thinking of You Week PR toolkit

    Science proves that receiving cards is good for people

    Thinking of you week flyer

  • Thinking of You Week 2015 from 21-27 September

    Thinking of You Week 2015

    Thinking of You Week 2015 is the Greeting Card Associations campaign to send a card a day and create a worldwide wave of love, caring and happiness during the last week of September each year. This year the week runs from the 21st to 27th September 2015.

    More people than ever are getting involved in Thinking of You Week this year including retailers, publishers, suppliers, schools, charities and individuals all organising special activities to promote this exciting event and to create that special feel-good wave.

    Below is a copy of the A4 flyer that you can download and print out for your shop window display. The GCA are also giving a prize for the Best Event and Best Window Display this year so be sure to share your images on social media using #ThinkingOfYou for a chance to win!

    Feel free to download the banner from the top of this page by right clicking and selecting 'save image as' to add it to your desktop. From there you should be able to use it as a cover image for your Facebook and Twitter pages during the months of August and September.

    We'd love to share what you are doing for Thinking of You Week so do let us know what you get up to.

    Why you should care about Thinking of You Week

    Download the GCA Thinking of You Week PR toolkit

    Science proves that receiving cards is good for people

    Thinking of You Week flyer

     

  • Why should you care about Thinking of You Week?

    Why Thinking of You Week

    Years ago I attended a greeting card industry seminar, not unlike the Ladder Club days for new publishers that I speak at each year. I remember a speaker proudly stating that she never sent greeting cards and that this was not uncommon amongst card publishers. The statement has preyed on my mind ever since as an insidious problem within our industry. I dont have the facts on how widespread this issue is, but I do know that I personally could do better with the number of cards I send each year.

    As card publishers, suppliers and retailers we should be the ones that are using these products the most. If we dont use them why should anyone else? Given that the industry is dominated at board level by men and 80% of card buyers are women, it must surely help us improve our offering and make the card sending tradition stronger if we are sending more cards ourselves?

    None of us know what will happen to the card industry in years to come and whether or not future generations will enjoy cards as much as those previous have. We cant control these things, but we can control what we do now. That is why I have been so excited about working with the Greeting Card Association Council to create and launch both Festive Friday and now Thinking of You Week to help promote card sending by starting with card publishers ourselves. 

    This month I agreed to take part in a dry run of Thinking of You Week, a new event being held in the last week of September to highlight the emotional power of sending and receiving cards. I roped in some of my colleagues at Blue Eyed Sun to join me. Everyone who took part in the initiative had fun doing it and enjoyed taking the time to stop and think about friends, family and loved ones. I'll be updating more on their stories later this month.

    The quality of our relationships is based on the quality of our communication. Cards are such a great way of communicating that we care, by taking the time to consider others and what wed like to say to them. We know that scientific studies show that receiving cards makes people feel more special than receiving texts and Facebook messages. Because there are less letters and cards received in the post these days, I believe they may have an even stronger power now. It is said that receiving cards can even stave off depression for recipients. I think it can help the senders with this too. 

    Whatever you focus on youre going to feel. Focussing on being grateful for what you have in your life and the people you care for means that you take your mind off yourself. Fear disappears when you are grateful, as does stress. 

    What are you grateful for? Start with yourself, then your close family and friends and all those who are important to you. This is what I did when I sat down to write my cards for Thinking of You Week. Pretty quickly I found that there were a number of events or reasons to send cards to the people I care about. It wasnt as difficult as I thought it would be. It helped that somehow all of my Facebook contacts birthdays have downloaded into my iPhones calendar.

    The hardest part was tracking down all of the addresses I needed. Remember that card sending is an important, meaningful tradition for older generations who will greatly appreciate the time and effort that you have taken to think of them. You might also find that it's a more powerful way of connecting with everyone who is important to you.

    Staying connected in meaningful ways with my friends and family is so important to me that I am very grateful for the opportunity to take part in this initiative. I hope that you do too. This really is a wonderful idea thats worth spreading so please do get involved and send some extra cards during the last week of September.

    Click to find out more about Thinking of You Week

    Read more about scientific studies on card sending

  • Thinking of You week announced by the GCA

    Thinking of You Week 2014

    I am very excited to share with you details of a project I have been working on with the Greeting Card Association this year. Following the success of our Festive Friday card sending campaign, the GCA are proud to announce 'Thinking of You Week' which will highlight the emotive power of sending and receiving hand written cards.

    Thinking of You week is to be held from the 22 - 28 September 2014 and marks 7 days of friendship and love for those that are near and dear to our hearts and those we may have lost touch with or want to connect with in a closer, more meaningful way. Life is so busy for all of us these days that it's important to stop and reconnect properly with those we care about. Thinking of You Week aims to facilitate this by encouraging us all to send seven cards during one week in September this year. 

    Cards are great to receive and especially so for those in need of a lift. It's been scientifically proven that receiving a handwritten card makes people feel more special than receiving texts, emails or messages on social media. Receiving cards can even stave off the early stages of depression.Think how lovely it will be for all of us to send out a wave of good cheer and love across our amazing planet.

    Below is a draft poster for the campaign.

    Click here to download the Thinking of You Week Toolkit

    Thinking of You Week 2014

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