Our love of technology has led us away from certain fundamental skills, like a handwritten note. It’s so much easier and faster to send an email or text than to sit down and thoughtfully put pen to paper. Studies show there are significant benefits to ditching the keyboard and creatively connecting with your thoughts and words.
A 2007 study at Kent State University asked students to write by hand genuine letters of gratitude and then evaluated them on their happiness (positive affect), life satisfaction (cognitive evaluation) and depression (negative affect). By writing one letter a week for three weeks to different people, the study found their well-being increased significantly compared to students who only answered questionnaires about their well-being. (Link to 2007 Kent State study)
An article published in 2011 by the University of Stavanger concluded that writing by hand strengthens the learning process. Neurophysiologists explain that our brain receives feedback from the sensation of touching paper and pen that’s significantly different from touching and typing on a keyboard. Since writing by hand takes longer than typing on a keyboard, this may also influence the learning process. In one experiment involving two groups of adults, participants were asked to learn to write in an unknown alphabet. One group was taught to write by hand, while the other used a keyboard. Those who learned to write the letters by hand had the best test results. (Link to Science Daily article)
Research suggests that students who write their notes by hand think more intensely about the material due to their increased focus. Since studying can feel like a memory game more than anything else, students can increase retention and cognition by handwriting notes instead of typing them. Along with this interesting research, there’s also a lot to be said for being able to doodle when taking notes. Yes, doodle! One study found that those who doodle remember 29% more of the information presented to them than those who don’t. Writing by hand demonstrably influences your cognitive processes and helps with creativity and new ideas. (Link to research)
At Plymouth Cards, we completely agree with the idea that handwritten letters and cards are impactful and more meaningful to the giver and receiver. These items also last far longer than any alternative version in our high-tech world. For example, they can be displayed or carried with us throughout our day and travels. Whether you're trying to cultivate a little romance, nurture a friendship or simply stay connected with loved ones while abroad, there are many good reasons to forego the text or email and send a handwritten letter, note or card regularly. It’s good for you and the other person in your life.
Do you agree? Are you going to start writing more letters?