Is there any better feeling than opening your mailbox to find an envelope with your name on it…and then opening it to find a genuine, handwritten letter? Receiving a letter tops my list of life’s simple joys. But you know what they say–you have to be a friend to have a friend.
Not only is letter-writing a nice way to disconnect from technology, there are emotional and health benefits surrounding letter writing as well. If that doesn’t convince you to pick up a pen and paper, I don’t know what will.
- Letter Writing Can Increase Overall Well-Being
Kent State professor Stephen Toepfer conducted a study of letter-writing and its resulting benefits. Study participants were asked to write a series of letters, and were told to express heartfelt gratitude as they wrote. Nothing silly or trivial, but real authentic thoughts.
The participants actually experienced an increase in overall well-being; their self-rated levels of happiness and life satisfaction climbed upwards throughout the duration of the study.
Toepfer could conclude that by writing three letters a week, and spending 15 to 20 minutes on each letter, people’s depressive symptoms can decrease quite significantly and their happiness and life satisfaction can increase.
- Letter Writing Can Help Writers Confront Their Emotions
We’re all emotional beings…yes, even those of you who don’t choose to show your feelings! Psychologists have long trusted letter-writing as an effective way to effectively sort through and deal with their emotions, especially negative ones directed at another person. By spending time to write a handwritten letter, writers can confront their unresolved feelings or fears. We can all use a little release sometime, wouldn’t you agree?
Additionally, penning emotions, attitudes, and feelings can help create a peace surrounding them. Letter writers are more likely to accept their state–whether it be physical, mental, or emotional. This can reduce anxiety.
- Your Loved Ones May Never Receive Handwritten Letters
A survey conducted in the United Kingdom found that one out of every five children in the UK has never gotten a letter via snail mail. Never! That, my friends, is a travesty. And 43% of the same group surveyed (1,200 children aged seven to 14) had never even sent a letter. A child education expert, Sue Palmer remarked that children who do not send or receive letters “miss out on key developmental benefits.”
By carving out just a few minutes of your day to write a thoughtful letter, you can encourage others to do the same and brighten their day in the process! Sounds like a good plan to me.
- Letter-Writers Strengthen Their Relationships
Because, as this article states, “sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door.” There’s a deep feeling of emotional connection between the sender and receiver that can strengthen bonds and increase perceived closeness. (As someone who’s in a long distance relationship, I can vouch for letter writing all day!)
Another benefit of letter writing in terms of strengthening relationships is the tangibility aspect. The ability to hold a letter close to your heart (literally) is so special! And unlike emails, which seem to get lost in the cyber web, you can keep a precious little shoebox of your correspondence. Love that.
Have I convinced you yet? If not, here’s my charge: write a letter today. A real, kind letter to a friend or family member. It’ll only take a few minutes. See how you feel…I can almost promise you that it’ll be enjoyable!