My day started with a lovely surprise, waiting for me on the mat below my letter box sat two unexpected packages and a card. They were sitting there patiently, waiting for me to find and retrieve them.
Like most people, I love receiving letters, parcels, cards anything that isn’t a bill and when I saw the small little pile of goodies a big grin spread across my face, my heart skipped a beat in anticipation and the day was off to a great start.
Most days I don’t have any post at all, or it’s a sad looking white envelope with a coloured logo in the corner signaling me another menacing bill has found its way into my home. Not a joyous occasion and sometimes even a little frightening, traumatic even. But because I can go days on end with the postman ignoring my lonely little letter box I often wonder, when watching American sitcoms, how they always seem to have piles of post ready for them to flick trough. Where do all these letters come from? In the day and age of technology most people write emails and texts, so shouldn’t we be hearing their mobile phones “ping” in irregular intervals, interrupting the conversations and see them checking their “inbox” on their laptops and smartphones?
As much as I enjoy a long email or a text from a friend nothing can beat the feeling of receiving a real letter. One that someone actually took the time to sit down and write, pen and paper in hand, and then even found a moment to wander down to the post and send it. The fact that they bought a stamp is an additional small sign of how they value you.
Sadly writing letters is a dying art-form (along with good spelling and “popping in for a cuppa”) and I admit I am just as guilty as most. However I do take the time every now and then and send friends and family a little envelope of love or a funny card I saw that made me think of them. A little token that out of sight is not out of mind.
I also enjoy the fact that letters take all the stress out of communication, there is no expectations for you to reply at once as everyone knows letters take a few days to travel. Email and texts have an inbuilt stress factor, we are expected to answer straight away, everything is urgent, nothing can wait and so your stress-levels rise with each ping or buzz alerting you to the fact that someone, somewhere is needing an answer RIGHT NOW.
It really is unsurprising that studies have shown that as a positive psychology intervention, gratitude letters “work” 99% of the time. A gratitude letter is a hand-written note you send to someone who you want to thank or even just tell that you love them, it can be a friend, family or even a mentor or teacher. And not only do the recipients enjoy them, feel touched and treasure these letters of love but the person who writes them feels good about themselves as expressing what you feel evokes positive feelings and thoughts.
Of course many of us send postcards from trips away or the occasional greeting card to random occasions, but how many of us actually write more than the few standard sentences? So the next time you think of a friend why not take a pen, pencil or even crayon and write down a few words of love on a piece of paper and send it to them. After all who keeps a box full of old emails under their bed that they re-read and enjoy for many, many years?
And who knows maybe one day those bills, with the traumatic, ever-rising payment demands tucked away inside your letter box may be kept company by a letter filled of love just for you.