How Letter Writing Can Improve Mental Health
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How Letter Writing Can Improve Mental Health

Zoe Kramer March 3, 2023

Most of us don’t write letters anymore. Emails and texts have become the standard mode of communication. They’re quick, snappy, and concise. This can make them great for conveying information succinctly, but they’re not always the best for expressing our feelings. While letter writing is pretty much obsolete, it’s still valuable in many ways. A handwritten letter is so rare now that it can come as a pleasant surprise to those you write to. Here is how letter writing can be great for your mental health.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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Processing Emotions

Taking the time to write down how you feel can be very cathartic. Sometimes we may think we have processed a feeling by thinking it through in our heads, but oftentimes it isn’t until that feeling is expressed that we have truly come to terms with it. Don’t worry too much about getting every detail right; simply put into words how you feel, and you may find yourself feeling much freer afterwards.

Expressing Gratitude

Another great benefit of writing letters is to express gratitude to those you love. We all have people in our lives to be grateful for, and telling them how we feel can really brighten up their day. Think of someone who means a lot to you, whether it’s a parent, mentor, friend, or partner, and write them a letter telling them about your appreciation. There’s nothing more uplifting than doing something kind for someone else.

Self Love

Another way you can use the letter writing exercise is to write a letter to yourself — specifically, your past or future self. This may feel odd at first, but it can be a great way to connect with the core parts of yourself that don’t change over time. You might write to your future self about how you hope things are going down the line, or you might connect with your younger self to show kindness and give advice.

Freedom To Send Or Not Send

The great thing about letters is that once you’ve written them, the exercise is complete. In other words, you don’t have to actually send them if you don’t want to. If you have a difficult relationship, you might just use the letter to vent your frustrations or express difficult feelings you’re not ready to tell them. Then, you can either keep the letter or discard it.

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Zoe Kramer has been writing for GRV Media’s student-centric website Freshered since October 2022 and is now also contributing to HITC. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2022 with a BA in Journalism, Media and English Literature. During her time in university, she worked for her student newspaper as well as completing an internship with a book publisher. She has also written and continues to write book and theatre reviews. She is excited to now be pursuing a career as a journalist and learning something new every day. In particular, she loves writing about student life, books, the Internet, and travel. Originally from the United States, she is enjoying living abroad in the UK.