Today we’ve got a real treat — a guest post from Brannon Carter of R&B Printery, a letterpress artist, techie, teacher, and fellow lover of “the good ole days.”

When Brannon is not in his studio creating, he enjoys writing and teaching others the re-emerging art of the handwritten note. Today he shares his advice on how to pen a mind-blowing Valentine’s Day card. Take it away, Brannon!

Valentine’s Day is more than just a one-day event. She wants to know that you are thinking about her on other days. He needs you to spark the flames of his desire a little early this year.

It’s the thought of you that makes all the difference. The anticipation is what triggers the mind to create an unforgettable night. So, a strategic, early handwritten Valentine’s Day card can make all the difference.

Dopamine, the brain’s love potion, is the pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter of the brain. But, the act of pleasure is not the only cause of pleasure. Neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky has discovered that dopamine is released when we anticipate a future enjoyable activity. “Dopamine is about the anticipation of pleasure. It’s about the pursuit of happiness, rather than happiness itself.”

So, the pleasure of Valentine’s Day starts with the mental buildup that begins before February 14th.

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For that reason, richer, more authentic relationships can be created by mailing a handwritten Valentine’s Day card several days beforehand, since pondering Valentine’s Day is just as important as the actions of Valentine’s Day.

To create that anticipation, engage the “thinking about you” mindset. Thinking leads to motivation. Research by psychologist Arie Kruglanski suggests that we have two complimentary motivational systems:

— The “doing” mindset.

— And the “thinking” mindset.

When you are with someone, their mind is focused in the moment. The doing mindset. But, distance or separation engages the thinking system.

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When you are not around, they get to think about you. This builds anticipation. Anticipation creates the driving motivation for the experiences that you will enjoy together.

Reading an early Valentine’s Day card starts the thinking process. Generates anticipation. Causes an early release of dopamine. Induces happiness on Valentine’s Day.

What’s the essential ingredient here? The perfect Valentine’s Day card! And sorry, the pre-printed variety won’t build anticipation or create the necessary thinking mindset.

Cornell psychologist Robert Sternberg has identified three components of love:

— Intimacy = Emotion. Let him or her know your true feelings.

— Passion = Motivation. Give him or her a hint as to your romantic plans.

— Commitment = Hopefulness. Reassure him or her of your devotion.

Your handwritten thoughts should be tailored to your relationship and to the other person’s unique qualities.

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In writing the perfect Valentine’s Day card, be sure to include all three components of love — and the neurons in the recipient’s brain will fire with anticipation.

Now it’s up to you! Grab a card or a handmade letterpress Valentine and start drafting the prelude to the romantic evening of your dreams. Then, jump over to Brannon’s blog and grab free writing guides and how-to articles for inspiration, trends, and seasonal advice that will help you find just the right words.

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