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Handwriting: A Skill For A Digital Age

Handwriting: A Skill For A Digital Age
Handwritten

    It seems like those of us who spend most of our day at a computer are slowly losing those handwriting skills our elementary school teachers spent years drilling into us. More than anything else, it’s a matter of disuse: many people hardly ever write anything out by hand and, if they do, it’s a quick note meant only to last until the next time they’re at a computer.

    But good handwriting is a skill worth honing, especially in a digital age, and for plenty more than writing your aging grandmother — although I’m sure she appreciates legible writing.

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    Bad Handwriting Kills

    In any given year, approximately 7,000 people die because a pharmacist couldn’t read a prescription. And while prescription pads will likely become electronic in the future, there will always be professions that rely on hastily jotted notes. Not all of these jobs will go electronic any time soon. Consider construction sites: not practical places for most electronic devices. But if you wander around a building site before anyone gets around to painting, you’ll see pencil marks on most of the lumber. Measurements, locations and quantities are all written on the wall, and while an illegible note might not kill anyone, there’s a high likelihood it could cost a contractor some money.

    Good Handwriting Saves Lives

    There are several diseases and conditions that can affect the brain and, in turn, the motor skills required for writing notes by hand. Neurologists can often tell a great deal about what is happening inside someone’s skull by looking at samples of their handwriting — especially if they have past samples. For instance, you can follow the progression of Parkinson’s disease in a patient very clearly through writing samples — handwriting can show the affects of the disease even in very early stages.

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    Different neurological disorders manifest themselves in different ways, especially on paper. Some can cause an overall decay in handwriting skills, while others can cause a patient to drop letters or words. There are, of course, a wide variety of psychologists who use graphology (handwriting analysis) for the purpose of understanding a person’s mindset as well. However, there is far more controversy about graphology than the simple observances made for the purpose of diagnosing neurological problems.

    Handwriting as Learning Mechanism

    Handwriting notes is a technique recommended by many educators as an excellent way to cement ideas in your mind. But handwritten notes work best if you can go back and look them over — and can tell just what they say. Pen and paper also offer a flexibility for diagramming that just isn’t available in word processing software. You can draw arrows quickly and create mind maps that aren’t restricted by a programmer that you’ve never met. You can even tear up paper (or use smaller pieces) and shift them around.

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    Writing out papers or notes by hand can also help provide a certain amount of focus that is difficult — if not impossible — with a computer. I know I have trouble focusing on a writing project when I want to check my email, read a few blogs or generally distract myself with the internet. To keep myself on track, I’ve had to pick up a pad of paper and go somewhere without a computer. Some days, it’s the only way I can stay focused.

    Preparing for Emergencies

    What if your power goes out? Your Blackberry runs out of juice? You’re stranded away from a printer? There are times that legible handwriting is absolutely crucial. Whether the power is on or off, odds are you have work that must get done. You may have to write out a document by hand and FedEx it to a client, or you may be writing in order to type it up later. You may even have to scribble down the phone number of a tow truck. No matter which, the effort is worthless if no one can read it afterwards. It’s practically a version of Murphy’s Law: if you write down something important, it’s bound to be illegible.

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    And there are jobs that may take you away from your computer — hard to believe, but true. If you’re interested in philanthropic work that will take you deep into a third world country, it’s in your best interest to have good handwriting. Even if you have access to email at all hours of the day, the people you might work with probably won’t.

    Handwriting is a Digital Age Skill

    Handwriting is an important skill — equally important to that ability to type 75 words per minute that you listed on your resume. You may not need to spend hours a day on perfecting your letters, but writing often enough to maintain a legible hand is worth your time. If nothing else, writing a long letter or outlining your next project can give your mouse hand a rest and stave off carpal tunnel syndrome a little while longer. Writing uses far different muscles in your hands than typing and can break up a series of repetitive actions: consider handwriting a stretching exercise.

    And you don’t need to go to the extreme of calligraphy. All you need is a legible style of writing: writing as if you left your mental caps lock on can be a quick way to write an easy-to-read note. A suggestion to keep in mind, though, is that writing in capital letter or in print usually takes longer than cursive. If you’re going to work towards legible handwriting, cursive letters may be the most productive in the long run.

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    Last Updated on October 22, 2020

    11 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude Every Day

    11 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude Every Day

    Maintaining a positive attitude is critical when you want to achieve anything or simply improve the quality of your life. Most success literature will talk about the power of positive thinking and how important it is, but it’s often easier said than done.

    In this article, you’ll find 11 tips for maintaining your positive attitude no matter what’s going on in your life.

    1. You Determine Your Reality

    It’s important to realize that you determine your reality by the way you react to the outside world. When something happens, you get to choose whether it’s a positive or negative situation and react accordingly.

    For example, if you lose your job, your first reaction will likely be one of anger, frustration, and hopelessness. However, what if you were able to turn those emotions around and look at that experience as an opportunity.

    You now have the chance to find a job where you will be able to learn new skills and perhaps even be happier. And in the meantime, you have some free time to analyze what direction you want the next stage of your life to go in.

    2. Start Your Day Strong

    Most people have to drag themselves out of bed, and this sets a negative state of mind for their entire day. Positive people create a long-term morning ritual that reinforces how great life is and how happy they are to be alive.

    I used to wake up and immediately turn on Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life to get me into a positive mood. Now I start my day by reading or listening to something positive. Whether you have 1 minute, 15 minutes, or an hour to dedicate to your ritual, you can start the day in a way that helps you feel relaxed and ready for the day ahead.

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    Cultivate a positive attitude with a great morning routine.

      3. Exercise Is the Natural Feel-Good Drug

      Exercise is a great way to maintain a good attitude because of all the positive chemicals it releases into the bloodstream.

      One study found that between groups who participated in high-intensity interval training, moderate continuous training, and no exercise, those in the second group experienced the greatest drop in depressive symptoms and stress[1]. Therefore, if you’re looking to exercise to help you feel good, get your heart rate up, but don’t push too hard or you may increase overall stress.

      Also, remember that exercise can include many activities. If you don’t like running, try dancing or kickboxing instead. Put on some upbeat music to kick up the positive vibes even more.

      4. Use Books, Audio and Videos to Overload Your Brain with Positivity

      There are millions of amazing books, podcasts, and videos for you to absorb from people who are inspiring and living the life of their dreams. Tap into their positive emotions and their experience by learning how they think and what they do to create the lives they want.

      You can do this in the morning or while exercising, eating, commuting, cooking, cleaning… there’s always time for positivity.

      5. Your Language Shapes Your Thoughts

      Little changes in your language can change the way you think and how you act. Whenever someone greets you and asks how you’re doing, do you answer with “fine” or “not too bad”? Think about just what this language is communicating to others… and yourself.

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      I always answer with “great,” “fantastic,” or “amazing.” Not only does this remind me that life really is great, but it usually helps the other person shift toward a positive attitude as well.

      Also, take some time to look at the way your inner voice talks to you. Is that language positive or negative? If it’s overly critical or negative, it may be time to tap into some mindfulness meditation in order to shift your inner critic to an inner cheerleader.

      6. Hang out With Positive People

      It is often said that you will have a similar level of health, income and lifestyle as the five people you spend the most time with.

      So if you want to be fit, then start to hang out with fit people. Want to start a business? Then hang out with business owners. And if you want to be positive, make sure you’re hanging out with positive people[2].

      7. Show Your Appreciation for Others

      By appreciating others for a job well done, their outfit, or their smile, you start to cause a positive chain reaction. Stop complaining and focus on all the good others are doing around you.

      Don’t you feel great when you receive a compliment from someone else? Well, if you want to receive more, then start giving them out and watch what happens to the people around you.

      One particular study found that people who sent letters of gratitude experienced significant increases in happiness scores[3]. If you don’t feel like writing a letter, send a nice text to someone who recently helped you out, or send an email thanking your coworker for always helping pick up the slack around the office. Whatever it is, take some time to show gratitude.

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      8. Garbage In, Garbage Out

      This is an expression from programming where the result is only as good as the input. If you’re feeding yourself with negativity all day long, then it’s pretty obvious you’re going to be feeling negative as well.

      A great deal of the media thrives on negativity. Put yourself on a negativity diet (including people) and watch how much easier it is to maintain your positive attitude.

      9. Stop Negative Thoughts in Their Tracks

      It’s hard to be a constantly positive person, and negative thoughts are going to bubble up from time to time. These will be more frequent in the beginning but can decrease as you practice the tips we’re talking about. When you start to notice negative thoughts, you can use a pattern interrupt to stop them in their tracks.

      The idea is to interrupt your current thought pattern and shift to a more positive outlook. One way to do this is to set a visual or auditory cue. It can be something as simple as a bracelet you wear each day or the sound of a car passing outside your window. Whenever you see or hear the cue, use it to shift your thoughts to something positive.

      You can learn more on how to shift your mindset and negative attitudes in the following video:

      10. Live With Gratitude

      So many positive things happen during our day, and we often ignore them while letting one negative comment or event ruin our mood. It can help to keep a gratitude journal where you jot down things you are grateful for each night or during the day.

      If you’re reading this, then you probably live with a roof over your head and food in your belly, which is a daily struggle for a large portion of the world. However, we often take these things for granted and don’t realize just how great we have it.

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      Try refocusing your thoughts towards everything you do have instead of what you don’t. One study found that reflecting on past experiences with a sense of gratitude can lead to increases in both hope and happiness[4]. That’s a great reason to give it a go today.

      You can find more ways to practice gratitude in this article.

      11. Recharge Your Batteries

      One key to adopting a positive attitude is taking the time to recharge your batteries. This might mean taking a few hours on the weekend to read a positive book or taking a few weeks for a holiday.

      If you’re not in the position to travel, you can take a staycation, or have a “home holiday” where you simply switch off from the outside world and spend time doing things you love.

      Final Thoughts

      You now have 11 tips for maintaining your positive attitude, but they are no use to you unless you implement them into your life.

      Start small, and pick the easiest tip or the one that you really love and introduce it into your life starting right now. Then, over time, start implementing the other tips and watch your positivity soar.

      More Tips About Staying Positive

      Featured photo credit: Pepe Cast Zam via unsplash.com

      Reference

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