When email became available in the late 1990’s, letter-writing slowly declined. Seniors remember the value of the letter-writing tradition; they may have had a penpal in a foreign country when they were young.

Many benefits come from taking pen in hand and setting words to paper to communicate. It’s personal. It’s also much more appreciated and can be treasured for years. Research shows writing to others can actually make you happier by telling how much they mean to you. Also, when you pause to write a card, note or a letter, you are creating deliberate and mindful thoughts.

The rhythmic movement of pen on paper encourages clarity and peace, utilizes visual, motor and cognitive brain processes and is good for the soul! It’s a wonderful way to reach out to others during these challenging times.

Chronic loneliness can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health. Writing to family, friends or new pen pals by hand will gives a meaningful connection, improves mood and lessens stress.

I have been involved in one letter-writing activity for nearly twenty years. Twenty-five years ago, a former teacher in the Grand Rapids area, Frances Fritzie, created a monthly newsletter called Ninepatch.

A variety of men and women write to her, sharing their life experiences. She publishes edited versions of their letters, stories and poems, enabling others to connect.

More important, readers know they aren’t alone! Everyone shares the same joys and sorrows.

Gail (Feb.21) adds, “Contact your long-lost relative, your local assisted living homes or the Veterans. Your life will be enriched! You will experience the joy of sharing yourself with others, which is as important as eating properly and exercising.”


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