1. It’s a memorable way to touch the people you love.
A thoughtful letter can be treasured for years. Visit just about any history museum and you’ll be struck by the impact a letter can have. Countless possessions throughout history have decayed into dust, but fragile pieces of paper have been protected for generations because powerful words are worth reading again and again.
2. Research says it can actually make you happier.
Steve Toepfer from Kent State University studies “author benefits” – the perks you get from penning letters. Toepher says by making a habit of writing thoughtful letters of gratitude, “you’ll feel happier, you’ll feel more satisfied, and if you’re suffering from depressive symptoms, your symptoms will decrease.” This isn’t as strange as it sounds. Telling your friends how much you appreciate them helps you count your blessings and notice some of the beauty in your life.
3. It confirms the importance of a relationship.
Taking the time to send a thoughtful note shows you cherish a relationship and want to invest in it. This can not only strengthen a friendship or a marriage, it’s also a clever way to grow loyalty with clients and business partners.
4. It’s a classy thing to do.
We write to remind people they’re special; but let’s face it, letters make us look pretty special too. Handwritten letters are a classy friend’s game. Set yourself apart as a lady or gentleman by sticking a stamp to your words of encouragement.
5. It helps you pause long enough to say things that matter.
Texting and email are mostly reactionary. You need information, so you reach out. Writing letters is much more deliberate. You do it to give, not to receive. You write because there’s something you need to say, not something you need to know.
6. It creates a wonderful surprise.
Remember when getting mail was fun? You never knew what you might find. Now, it’s mostly a pile of bills and junk. You can be the girl who rescues her friends from the drudgery of modern mail! Put something fun in their mailbox and you just might make their day.
7. It’s a tried and true tradition.
When you send handwritten letters, you’re participating in one of history’s finest rituals. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” captured the spirit of the American Civil Rights Movement. Major Sullivan Ballou’s letter to Sarah revealed the conflicted emotions of a soldier who loved his country and a husband who loved his wife. It’s even said that a letter from a young girl convinced U.S. President Abraham Lincoln to grow his iconic beard. Our ancestors recognized the importance of writing letters, and so should we.
8. It speaks to older friends and relatives in a medium they cherish.
To some young people, mail can seem outdated or boring; but for mature generations, it’s a tradition rich in sentiment. Even if your older relatives know how to text, they still love slicing open a handwritten letter.
9. It’s a chance to show off (or improve) your handwriting
Most of us spent hours in school practicing our printing and cursive; but now that we’re “grown ups,” we never get to show off our skills! For you talented calligraphers, handwritten letters are your 15 minutes of fame. Or, if you’re like me, writing letters gives you a chance to improve your lovable scribbling.
10. It’s easier than you think.
Well-written cards can be some of the least expensive and most meaningful gifts you will ever give. With a few strokes of the pen, you have the power to encourage a loved one, inspire a friend, or kindle a romance. The hardest part is getting started, so let’s make it simple. Who do you appreciate most in life? If you could only speak to them one more time, what would you tell them? Write that down right now. Don’t worry about penmanship. Afterwards, all you’ll need to do is find the right card, transcribe your message, slap on a stamp, and remind that bored little flag on your mailbox that it was made for a purpose.
Featured photo credit: Handwritten Letters/Kelsi Laine via kelsilaine.com