Showing gratitude consistently appears as a major factor of happiness.
When you show appreciation for the good in your life or thank someone for what they mean to you, it not only makes you happier, but the recipient as well.
A Harvard Medical School article reports that “gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
While you can express gratitude through a phone call or a gift, the easiest, quickest and most powerful way to bring happiness to your life is to write personal letters.
In my experience, even people who don’t make time to send letters, admit that they love receiving them.
Handwritten personal letters build relationships in a way no other communication can.
When my children were young they grumbled as I insisted that they send handwritten thank you notes for every Christmas and birthday gift they received. From the way they moaned and whined, you’d think they’d grow up hating to send thank you notes. On the contrary, they even send thank you’s to each member of the interview committee following job interviews.
The greatest thing about letters, especially personal handwritten ones, is they create double happiness, touching the sender and the receiver.
Get encouragement and guidance from three heart-warming letter-writing projects.
Heartfelt letters create enduring bonds of appreciation
Lynette M. Smith, copyeditor and owner of All My Best, is on a mission to restore the art of showing our feelings of appreciation through letter writing.
She believes that even simple expressions of appreciation can return our world to joy and hope, one relationship at a time.
Lynette’s personal story illustrates how her book,
How to Write Heartfelt Letters to Treasure: For Special Occasions and Occasions Made Special came about.
On November 21, 2008, my husband and I attended the wedding rehearsal dinner of our son, Byron, and his fiancée, Rachael. That evening, they surprised us when the two of them each made a special presentation to their respective parents–a beautifully framed, one-page heartfelt letter. Their best man and maid of honor read the letters aloud as Byron and Rachael each stood beside their own parents.
Each letter described what they had treasured about growing up in their family, what they had especially appreciated about each parent, and what values they had learned and planned to bring to their marriage.
We were deeply moved–all of us: four parents, bride and groom, and the rest of the guests. And I can tell you, those framed letters will always hold a place of honor in our homes. To this day, whenever I tell someone about that night and our treasured letters, my hand automatically moves to my heart. That’s where I still feel the experience. And my love and appreciation for our son who expressed his love and appreciation for my husband and me so beautifully has truly strengthened the bonds we already felt.
In her book, Smith covers planning, writing, packaging and presenting your letters.
One of the reviews points out
There’s a little bit of etiquette that goes along with writing a letter. For example, when someone dies in the line of duty, one of the last things you want to write is “I know what you must be going through.” No you don’t and hopefully you never will. Lynette Smith helps guide you through those tricky situations, even if you are going to simply write a note on a card. Letter preferred. You’ll learn how to write that special letter and even how to present it. In some instances, you may be encouraged to present a letter in person, and if possible, in private.~D.Fowler
Her three-part reference book Smith addresses milestone birthdays; special occasions for school, military, romance, family, rites of passage and career; and professional and personal relationships, aging, eulogies and mending relationships. A special bonus is her selections of positive words, inspirational quotes and sentence jumpstarts.
Your letters are powerful even when written to strangers.
Handwritten love letters to strangers can bring you and them back from despair
Hannah Brechner, a copywriter and creative consultant, was fortunate to have a mother who communicated via handwritten letters rather than the more efficient, but less touching, email and text messaging.
Here’s Hannah’s story in her own words of how she got into
the business of broken hearts.
i began leaving love letters all over New York City back in October 2010 as a way to try to fight off my own loneliness and depression. the callouses still have not faded from the following year as i spent nine months mailing over 400 love letters to strangers in need around the world. today i run The World Needs More Love Letters, a global love letter writing organization that harnesses the power behind social media to write and mail love letters to individuals across the globe. i’m like a proud mama when i tell people it’s spread across 6 continents and all 50 states. she is my labor of love. where i spend my days
Watch the video to hear Hannah’s story in her own voice. If you feel so inclined join her global letter writing campaign at The World Needs More Love Letters.
Handwritten letters and cards from the Word Chef can start a conversation
When Tea Silvestre, marketing coach at thewordchef.com, signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that takes place in November every year, she considered writing short stories. But then she remembered how much she once loved writing letters. Next she remembered how much stationery she has neglected since she turned her back on it in favor of email, Facebook and all the cyber rest.
So here’s what Tea said next in her own words
The Great Stationery Collection Beckons Me
Which is where YOU come in.
In exchange for your mailing address and a few choice details about yourself, I’d like to hand-write and send you a one-of-a-kind letter.
It might be a postcard, a love note or a thank you card. It might say Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary or my condolences. Maybe I’ll share a dream or a fear or the cool thing that happened to me that day. It all depends on what you’re willing to share.
AND (totally optional), if you write back — well, then! We might just get to know each other better.
And really — isn’t that what this ride around the sun is all about?
So, if you’re game for a little snail mail surprise from the Word Chef, use this form on http://thewordchef.com/2012/10/nanowrimo-project-postcards-and-love-letters-from-the-chef/ to add yourself to the list.
Showing gratitude, sending love letters to strangers or opening a conversation are all ways to bring happiness into your life.
Letter writing is always on time and always in season.
Whether you join in the letter-writing missions of Lynette, Hannah or Tea, you can be sure that your handwritten letters will not only make your recipient happier, but you too.