Do you ever remember being a kid and getting excited to check the mail because you might have received a letter from a friend? Yeah, me neither. The only mail I could count on were birthday cards from my grandparents. That is, of course, until I became a teenager and discovered the art of letter writing. A friend of mine would write letters to me; she would add art, stickers, and even little trinkets. I looked forward to her notes and would try to learn from her creativity. The content of the letters was only half of the excitement. Just knowing that someone was thinking about me and taking the time to send me something beautiful and creative was the best part. Eventually, we grew up and apart. We still keep in touch over Facebook.
Ahh, Facebook. I think we can all admit we have a love-hate relationship with the largest and most popular social media platform. Recently, I did a small survey asking people why they had social media accounts. Most people said they had social media to keep up with friends and family, especially those out-of-state. Some said they kept their accounts for entertainment while others said they weren’t really sure.
Letter writing’s cause of death: social media
While platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have a huge potential to be a positive impact on the world, they often have the opposite effect. You can do your best to be positive, share hope, and curate your profile for maximum joy. Still, the digital world is a totally different kind of beast that continues to evolve. You might not even notice it happening, but these digital platforms could be slowly destroying the way we view friendship. Websites like Facebook seem to cheapen the meaning of friendship; it turns it into a quick and convenient way to check-in with one click. I’m not saying everyone is socially shallow because you don’t write letters to all 500 people on your friends list. However, while the internet has the power to unite people, it also has the ability to deteriorate the bonds of friendship.
Improve your friendships and health
Unless you don’t have a soul, giving to others creates a selfless kind of happiness. This article breaks down two studies that have suggested that showing kindness to others improves our own satisfaction in life. Although we may not have the funds or resources like Santa, we can certainly spare 20 minutes and the .55¢ for postage to brighten someone’s day. Writing letters has more benefits, aside from nourishing friendships. According to Northern Illinois University, letter writing may help improve your thinking and improve your mental health! In one study, participants reported feeling more positive and experienced less anxiety and depression. Other participants reported having improved their academic performance.
Resurrecting the art of letter writing
Letters don’t have to be fancy-schmancy, nor do you need to be artistically inclined. Simply jot down a few words to spark a conversation via snail mail. Not sure what to write about? Here are 18 letter writing prompts to help you get started. If you are blessed with an artistic hand, get crafty with your stationery! Back when my friend and I exchanged letters, we’d include stickers or magazine clippings that would later be pasted onto notebooks. I don’t care how old you are, everyone loves stickers. But it doesn’t matter if your notes are plain or creative, as long as they’re legible with good intent. The happiness you’ll bring with just a few sentences on a piece of paper goes a long way, so break out your pen and paper and brighten someone’s day!