“I love handwritten letters. The way the words get jumbled up when the writer’s excited. The way the words get neat when the writer is trying not to make a mistake. The way the words get pretty, because the writer’s in love. I love handwritten letters.”Unknown
I always feel nostalgic when watching frontier TV shows where handwritten letters were the only form of communication from someone far away. During the days when there were no mobile phones, my friends and I used to write to each other during the school holidays. And I got so excited whenever the postman came to drop letters into our post box. Hurrying to the post box, I would grab out the letters and scan through for my name. My heart leapt in joy when I received a letter, I would instantly try to guess who it was from based on the handwriting before opening and reading it. It was an utter joy. The feeling is just like how excited Harry Potter was when he finally got his hands on that Hogwarts letter! And I’m still waiting for mine from Hogwarts. Haha.
Then the mobile phones and internet invaded our earth, we stopped writing letters and what comes to the post box is mostly only bills. Today we live in a modern technology age with emails, social media and digital communications being so speedy and convenient. Technology has forged connections across our globe that tie us closer together than ever before. However, this also means that people seem to have lost the habit of writing snail mail. The classic way of corresponding with paper and ink, taking time to write words on a piece of paper seems like a lost art. Perhaps it is time we revive this lost art incorporating with the art of slow living. Here are 5 reasons why it is still important to handwrite letters that I hope will inspire you to pick up that pen and paper to write again.
1. It can make someone happy
You’ll make someone else happy as well as yourself. When you send someone a handwritten letter, it shows how special this person is to you. So, you know that the receiver of your letter is going to get a wonderful surprise and know that you care. This, in turn, will make you feel happy as well. It works the other way too, when you are the receiver of the letter, it shows how much the sender cares about you because writing a letter with pen and paper takes time and when someone takes time to write to you, then you obviously mean something to them.
2. It sparks creativity, and adds a personal touch
The brain engages differently when you write something by hand as opposed to typing it on a keyboard or by touching a screen. Letter writing encourages us to explore our creativity, like experimenting with doodles, using stickers, colouring, water painting, origami etc. to decorate the letter and the envelopes. It really unleashes the inner personality and playfulness that exudes your personal charm when you pick the paper you write on and your handwriting which is unique only to you. That is why a handwritten letter is so much more special than a personalized email. Besides, studies show that writing improves memory, as one retains information better when working with new ideas through handwriting instead of typing.
3. It promotes mindfulness and unplugging
Writing letter with pen and paper promotes mindfulness by creating a sense of calmness and relieves stress, very much like colouring. Because you are carefully writing down your thoughts, it encourages you to slow down, and your mind is able to focus on the content. In addition, the rhythmic movement of pen-on-paper encourages clarity and peace. Just like how movies or tv shows have a tendency to start or end the cinematography of scribbling sounds of writing on paper. As there’s no delete button, you intentionally take your time in crafting a letter. This time in turn gives more meaning to your handwritten letter. Plus, you also have more control of how you communicate in the letter as there’s no frustration from autocorrect that may disrupt your thought process.
4. It creates lasting memories
After receiving and reading a piece of mail, especially if it is from someone special, we tend to keep it as we cherish those letters. These letters can be treasured for years. I still keep some of my letters from my friends, letters from my husband when we were dating and also letters from my family. There’s something about these letters that no matter how long the time has passed, when you take and read it again provides you with memories of the past and instantly takes you back to the day you first read it. Plus, it is a very lovely activity to do, re-reading old letters.
It can be sentimental, as you have the memory of the person who wrote the letter to you and that still shines through their handwriting. Unlike a text message or a phone call, a letter is a tangible piece of communication. We can actually hold on to the pen and paper, and we can read the letters we have received over and over again without the fear of them being deleted or forgotten.
5. It is timeless and honoured tradition
To some people, mail can seem outdated as technology is more convenient to send a message across the world. However, for mature and older generations, it’s a tradition rich in sentiment. When you write a letter, you are also honouring the tradition and joining famous people. For example, Queen Elizabeth II shared her drop scones recipe in a letter to President Eisenhower in 1957. A little girl called Grace Bedell wrote and suggested to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln to grow his iconic beard. Martin Luther King’s letter from Birmingham Jail that captured the spirit of the American Civil Rights Movement.
There are many more letters from the past. If you visit any history museum, you will find how much impact these letters had, and to think there were just created on pieces of paper and inked with powerful handwritten words. Our ancestors recognized the importance of writing letters, and so should we. Besides, powerful words are worth reading again and again.
“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”Phyllis Theroux
Picking up a paper and pen is easy. The hardest part is actually starting to write. What should I write? I quite often find myself being blank when I’m about to start a letter. Then I find that it is easiest to start with the weather. Come on, everyone loves talking about the weather. Just kidding, I think the easiest way to start is by writing a card. A thank you card is the simplest but also a meaningful one. With just a few strokes of the pen, you have the power to send your gratitude.
So, send your family and friends some love in the forms of cards and words. It doesn’t have to be a long-worded card, simple words from the heart are always the best. Also, the next time someone helps you or your favourite local store goes above to mail you your order, just drop them a thank you card. Trust me it will make their day! Even if grandma knows how to text, she would greatly appreciate a handwritten card or letter from you. Just go ahead and post your cards and letters and try to make it a habit to write back. If you never start you will never know how it will feels.
Just remember that we still have postman working tirelessly and each house is built with a mailbox, even new houses. Those are not just for bills but there for letters and cards from friends and love ones. The tradition is meant to be kept alive now and forever. 😊 I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you write letters to your family and friends? How do you feel when you write on paper? Let me know in the comments below. Thank you. x
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