Write letters and be happy

On April 6, in the style section, Guy Trebay of the New York Times wrote a lengthy piece on how the hand-written thank you note is not just surviving but thriving, especially in the business world.

Summarizing “The Found Art of Letter Writing,” here are the benefits of handwriting thank yous:

1)      Letter writers are happier more sociable people. What Emily Post deemed “good manners” is now called “gratitude intervention.”

2)      Handwriting shows dignity and respect. In the digital age, it shows you took the time to think about what you are writing.

3)      It creates an emotional connection. Saying thank you is a form of reciprocity. In the traditional barter method you always get something in exchange for giving something. The thank you note acts as a balance to the trade.

4)      It emphasizes a personal relationship. Letter writing is an intimate act and requires a bit of knowledge about the recipient. Emails can be much more anonymous and distant.

5)      It allows you to stand out. Social media and digital messages are ubiquitous. If you send a handwritten letter, you are more likely to be noticed.

Aren Cohen wrote “Thank you notes and Positive Psychology,” and while it is a bit dated,  it echoes these sentiments that sending handwritten note ultimately increases happiness and strengthens interpersonal bonds.

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