Reclaim the Power of Writing Letters for Healing

Letter writingWritten by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW
June 30, 2022

When I was a child, my favorite gift for my birthday and holidays was stationary. I loved the colorful box sets with pen, envelopes, and notes. Beyond the hot pink colors and kitten picture note paper, my mom taught me to write "thank you" notes to people whenever I had something for which to be grateful. I sat down with my notes, pen in hand, and wrote (often in cursive) my letters. Then, I stuck on a stamp, walked the letter to the local post office, and snail mailed my note. I established a deep appreciation for letter writing as a way of expressing myself and sharing feelings. Over time, I received my first journal, also known as a diary. I kept track of events in my life such as boyfriends, breakups, health problems, and even travels. Letter writing was a normal part of my life. When I traveled, I even wrote letters to family and friends sharing my experiences and they wrote me back. Until my grandmother passed away last year at 95, we still wrote letters to each other as a main way of communication. 

As an adult in 2022, I realize that writing letters as a form of communication and self-expression is becoming a lost art. Even though I still collect stationary and mail cards whenever I can, I rarely receive cards. When I have deep and personal thoughts I want to express to someone, I still write a letter to them. Writing helps me process my feelings, organize my thoughts, and even heal. Sometimes I write a letter and throw it away, but it still helps me release tension, stress, and bad memories. Recently, when my therapist suggested I write myself a letter in order to process some of my conflicts, I thought about how many people don't write letters. This article in Psychology Today talks about the value letter writing offers to our mental health, relationships, processing, and general well-being. The tactile process of taking a pen in hand is actually very important---try it out once in a while. You may be surprised what you learn about yourself. 

<Read the article in Psychology Today>

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