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I’ve always loved handwritten letters. Prior to the invention of electronic mail, I was always writing in some shape or form. Even many years later, when it was more common to text, my grandmother and I would exchange handwritten letters on a monthly basis. I was only forty miles from my hometown, but there was something special about receiving a carefully thought-out letter from my granny. There was never anything new to be told, everything we wrote about was a summary of our phone calls, but I didn’t mind. It was just lovely to share such an old-fashioned and forgotten medium with her. But the most important part of her letters was how she signed them off.
“Love you always.”
I haven’t sent any handwritten letters since her passing. But it’s something I’ve often thought about doing if I could find the time or person to write to. Writing an article such as this reminds me of all the reasons we value handwritten letters.
5 Reasons why we should still send handwritten letters.
Handwritten letters create physical, long-lasting memories.
Studies have shown that there is a distinct link between handwritten letters and increased neural activity in the brain. I’ve been saying it for years, but nothing beats writing things down physically when it comes to creating memories. I kept handwritten notes during my university career, and even now I prefer writing things down physically, especially if I need to remember them. The moment we commit pen to paper, we’re more likely to store it within our memory than if we type it onto a computer or into a phone. And the same applies to sending handwritten letters to our nearest and dearest.
There’s also the added benefit of finding these memories years down the line. Sure you can save an email or screenshot a text. But, there’s nothing quite like coming across handwritten letters. My grandmother and I used to frequently go through her boxes of memories and we’d often find various yellowed, hand-written cards and letters from decades gone by. From the fraying edges of the paper to the delicate scrawl of the old-fashioned handwriting, I always felt somewhat emotional about reading old correspondents. And the emotions I feel when I open my grandmother’s memory box and read her letters are a mixture of sadness and love as I recall just how much we meant to each other.
Handwritten letters can show how much you care.
It goes without saying that most people like to receive a text or an email just letting them know you’re thinking about them. Even if it’s just a simple ‘hi‘ it can mean the world of difference. But, receiving handwritten letters is something else. It takes real effort and time to hand write to someone, which makes receiving a handwritten letter or card even more special. A few simple words on paper or cards become more meaningful when you’ve carved out time in your day to sit down and write them. This is specifically true if you’re corresponding with elderly loved ones who perhaps feel that the art of letter writing is gone.
But handwritten expressions of care can extend further than just our loved ones. It’s also a thoughtful way of thanking others for their service to you. This could be anything from thanking wedding guests to car sales thank you cards. I spent a few hours writing thank you letters to those who wished us a happy wedding day in late 2020, and to those who sent gifts. The option to send a mass email or text was there, but I chose the more traditional route because of how special it felt to me.
Letters help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
No matter the time of year, writing a letter to a loved one can remind them that they’re not alone. This was specifically needed during the various lockdowns caused by the pandemic. But thinking of our lonely loved ones should still be a priority even now that all restrictions have been lifted. As we approach the holidays, arguably one of the loneliest times of the year, we should consider picking up pen and paper to connect with those most in need. Think of your elderly grandparents, bereaved neighbour, or even friends across the water. No matter their generation or situation, receiving personalised messages will let them know that you’re thinking of them and that you care.
They honor tradition.
I love how handwritten letters connect us to our past and how things once were. It’s easy to forget that years before the internet or mobile phones, our parents and grandparents communicated purely by letters. Romantic relationships were much more difficult if one person was abroad or deployed. There was no such thing as social media updates or a quick Whatsapp message to tell them you love them. Often you had to wait to call them at a phone box or sit by the letterbox for the postman, hoping he had something for you.
Handwritten letters are a reminder of what it means to be patient, which makes them even more special.
Writing by hand promotes a sense of mindfulness.
Even if you’re not writing a letter or a card, just the act of writing can promote mindfulness. It forces us to slow down, listen to our inner voices, and process what you’re about to write. The same goes for colouring and drawing, both of which have been proven as useful mindfulness techniques. If you’re ever feeling anxious, physically write down what it is that you’re worried about. You might even find it helpful to make physical lists and cross things off as you conquer them.
Finally, I find that when I have something that I’m afraid to say, I write it down. Whether it’s something you want to say to a person or a situation, writing it down relieves it from your mind. Often, I’ve found myself writing letters to those that have hurt me. But instead of sending them, I’ve filed them away or, more commonly, disposed of them either by burning or tearing them up. This is also considered a form of ‘mindfulness’ and teaches us to process our emotions in a healthy way.
I love handwriting stuff, so letters are definitely my go-to when it comes to anything!
Could not agree with these points more! I love sending and receiving handwritten letters, it’s so thoughtful. I had a few pen pals while I was in school – I’d love to get back into that x
mia // https://miasdiyprojects.com/
I love handwritten letters, but i must admit that I don’t send them often these days! The closest I get is a card.
I’ve been getting more into this as my son learns to write as well!
I love a handwritten letter! And I was instantly drawn to this post.
I need a penpal. I also used to write to my aunt when I was younger and have one of her poems framed.
What a beautiful post!
I’ve kept handwritten letters and postcards from my family and friends.
There is something special about them; more personal.
Even now, my partner sometimes leaves me handwritten notes. 😀
Honestly, I have never written a letter. Probably because I’m surrounded by the tech since I was young. After reading your article, I’m thinking of try writing a letter by hand one.
I love writing handwritten letters. My grandpa and I send them to each other as he is in Canada. It’s lovely getting updates and photos from him about what’s going on over there and sending him updates about my son and such. I really wish there were more pen pal things around as it’s so nice to do.
When I was in college, me and my friends used to write each other letters pretending to be characters of Harry Potter. It was fun, creative, and scary at times to receive a letter from Professor Snape. 😄
I love receiving handwritten letters still too. They mean so much more I think! Thanks for sharing all the reasons why we should continue to do so!
Love this! I love pulling out things from my grandmother that she had written down. I will treasure those recipes for always. <3
Talk about a flashback – omg. Been forever since we had handwritten letters. It would mean more to the receiver now at this time and age as Technology has taken over.
I honestly can’t tell you the last time I wrote a letter by hand. I write post-its all the time but that’s not quite the same. It can be therapeutic which is why so many journal these days.
It’s been a while since the last time I have written a letter by hand. And it’s true that it helps not to feel lonely. Thank you for sharing!
Up until mow my husband sometimes give me flowers woth handwritten lettwrs it mever gets old.
There is no doubt that handwritten letters are more personal. It can still be fun to receive a letter in the mail and anticipate what it will say. But electronic means of communication still rule the day and likely always will. The convenience, the spell check, the ease of reading what you send someone, and other reasons make it this way.
I agree with this! I still love receiving handwritten letters. Postcards and greeting cards too! I just love touching it personally unlike to those we received online.
I love writing letters, there is just something so personal about writing and receiving handwritten letters. It just so much care and effort. Thank you for sharing these reasons!
I love writing letters still as well! I absolutely think it seems more genuine and personal when it’s given.
I miss the tradition of handwritten letters, everything evolves around technology these days, which is quite sad. Handwritten letters have something special about them, it just feels more personal! x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
I haven’t sent a hand written letter in years, but this is inspiring me to pick up a pen again. Hand written letters really are special.
I love this. I never stopped sending hand written letters for really special things. Of course, if I need to communicate something quickly, I email or text, but when I want to let someone know I’m really thinking of them, handwritten letters are the best.
I love this! You know, a few years ago, I decided to start sending post cards again I used to always do it and for no reason at all just stopped. One day, my friend and I were Face-timing and she showed me her fridge which had all the old postcards I had sent over the years. It made me cry to see how special they were to her. I always received handwritten letters from my Grandma as well and have cherished them ever since. It’s a good reminder in the digital age of teh real value of handwritten items that come from the heart. Thanks for sharing this.
I agree! There’s something about writing a letter by hand that is so meaningful and quite therapeutic. I love good old pencil and paper writing.
I miss handwritten letters as this was what I was used to doing when I was a child; it felt so special! I still send some every now and then but I think I should do it more for all the reasons you highlighted here; especially doing it to just get my thoughts out (for myself) — this is a great idea.