We all know how daily meditation, 8 glasses of water, regular exercise and good fats will improve our lives but did you know the art of writing letters can help us with our mental health. We bet you didn’t pay much attention to it at school because you were busy watching sitcoms and scrolling down your Insta feed. We don’t blame you, we have all been there.
But putting pen to paper comes with a myriad of mental health benefits, we know now you are interested. When one puts pen to paper, the ink becomes a vessel of the heart. “I say heart and not head because ration gives way to the deepest emotions when one is in the flow of writing. To have that uninterrupted opportunity to put out your thoughts, creates clarity and light-heartedness that results in a much-cherished letter. The idea of immersing yourself in the thoughts of a singular person, for a singular conversation is something that only letters can do in our notoriously-notification-filled age,” says Harnehmat Kaur, Co-founder & Organiser, Daakroom.
So, no matter what the reason to write; anger, love, hope, laughter, sadness, there is no better way to put them out because there won’t be any inbuilt emojis or text suggestions that will tamper your individuality and authenticity. It will be all truly and uniquely you.
In a world that is largely dictated by deadlines, character limits, and filtered smiles, letter writing gives us what we lack the most: the time and space to process the emotional chaos that persists under the surface of our shiny 21st-century personas. “Sitting down with nothing but a pen, paper, and one’s feelings is nothing short of a meditative experience. I believe in the power of the written word, and how it can help us gently break down and authentically express complex emotions. The best part? There’s plenty of time to reflect and no rush to reply,” feels Drishti Gupta, Co-founder, Now&Me.
Emotional Aspects of Letter Writing
Letters are like time capsules. They’re tangible, and you can safe keep most, if not all, of them. So, when you stumble upon one while finding something in your drawer, or closet, or inside an old notebook, or maybe used as a bookmark, it takes you back in time.
“The handwriting of your loved one is unparalleled, and unlike any other font. The fact that they held the piece of paper once and wrote on it is almost like having a little piece of them with you,” says Shivani Mehta, Co-founder & Organiser, Daakroom.
Letters help you identify and think of the most important people in your life. “The love and time that goes into writing a letter is very different from the quick WhatsApp message you drop to check on someone or to update them. And you don’t write a letter to your thousands of Facebook friends. The people who you’d really write to can probably be counted on one hand; the ones you’d take out that kind of time and thought for,” adds Mehta.
What makes letter writing so special is the sheer time, effort, and care one puts into penning their thoughts for someone else. “That is so rare to find in today’s automated-autosuggested-autocorrected style of communication. I hope the coming generations rekindle the love of pouring one’s thoughts into handwritten words. After all, meaningful relationships are borne out of the exchange of real, unfiltered feelings. Something as small as a thank you note can help us nurture gratitude and appreciation,” opines Gupta. Letters add that lovely human touch to conversations; they remind us to slow down and be more present for one another.
Relevance of handwritten letters in the digital era
When instant messaging and video chats took over, communication definitely became faster but not necessarily better. “We do not deny the advantages of quick communication methods but the beauty and personalization of a letter remains unchallenged, more so because they are becoming rarer. We at Daakroom advocate that every means of communication has its own place and must be respected and used for that,” believes Kaur.
If there is ever an opportunity to say something from the depth of your heart to a special someone, then letters are truly the only way. Kaur feels letters are the ideal means of communication, and will always stay relevant and never be obsolete.
Kaur and Mehta share some of the things that they are doing to ensure letter writing is revived and sustained through their initiative.
We are creating memorable experiences and spaces conducive to writing and even posting the letters and postcards. Case in point was Daakroom’s Letter Writing Carnival which took place at Gandhi Darshan, New Delhi on 4th December.
We facilitate and trigger conversations between the generation that has lived and loved letters and the ones who do not even know what a yellow postcard is
We give people multiple reasons to write via our products and experiences along with the know-how and infrastructure to write and post
We are concentrating on Gen Alpha and Gen Z and reintroducing them to the magic of licking and sticking stamps.
We work closely with India Post and are always grateful for their support to be able to bring the charming postal experience in the most authentic way possible.
Most importantly, we are trying our best to present the most fun and coolest parts about letter writing, like the excitement one feels on receiving a letter or the wonderful stationery one gets to use to people all over the country.
Mental Health Benefits of letter writing
Stress and anxiety have become a regular part of everyone’s lives. At any given point, we all seem to be dealing with some negative, unwanted emotion that often gets pushed aside. Feelings are formless, making it harder for people to deal with them. Letter writing is immensely therapeutic in how it gives these vague feelings a tangible form and structure. “It lends me perspective and clarity and brings me closer to understanding myself. I find it empowering to be able to express myself in a way that is true to who I am. This honest expression is, in fact, the foundation of Now&Me, where we encourage people to come as they are and exchange their unfiltered feelings with one another on a very human level. We like to think of the initiative as a modern, GenZ alternative to letters: no stamps, no postage but all the room in the world for real, human feelings,” chips Gupta.
Why parents and schools should introduce children to the art of letter writing early on in life?
Letters inculcate empathy, creativity, strengthen cognitive skills, and are a tactile experience. As children, in addition to letters to friends and relatives, letter writing also happens in the form of passing chits in the classroom! They create little memories that, when you stumble upon years later, act as time capsules to take you several years back.
If they are familiar with the format as well as the power of handwritten letters from an early age, they will know when to use them throughout their lives. “Letters are not something you write every day, or even every week for that matter. You use them on special occasions, or to express important, deeper thoughts and emotions like love, gratitude, sorrow, regret, and so on,” feels Mehta. If children are familiarised with the medium of letter writing, they will know when to use them for important communication, which is effective through letters, and often difficult via other forms of communication. Because it’s about matching the message to the right medium.
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