Sending snail mail is an instant mood booster.

By Kelly Vaughan
May 06, 2020
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Spending time away from loved ones during quarantine can be challenging, and you may feel lonely during this time of social distancing. While virtual gatherings can help ease feelings of stress and sadness, try to harken back to an earlier decade by writing a letter. Whether you're sending a handwritten note to a loved one or mailing artwork that your child created during at-home learning, messages delivered the old-fashioned way—dropped in a mailbox by the USPS—are surefire ways to bring a smile to a loved one's face.

senior woman ready feel-good letter
Credit: JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

Personalized letter writing can also help to sort out any feelings of confusion, stress, or sadness that you may be feeling during quarantine. At the same time, sharing small anecdotes of joy or noting a few things that you're grateful for can help to brighten your mood. "Labelling your emotional experience, verbalizing your emotions, or writing them down can be helpful for processing anxiety-based emotions in particular," Lily Brown, an assistant professor of psychology and director at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, told TODAY. "Letter writing might help people open up and be self-reflective in a way that could be helpful."

Although scientists haven't conducted many studies looking at the mental and emotional health benefits associated with letter writing, there has been extensive research conducted on journaling. "Writing can be a potentially helpful exercise when any of us are feeling emotional because it can help to recruit activation of the executive functioning parts of the brain that help build rationality and help to give us some perspective," says Brown.

Brown also explains that writing a letter provides a stripped down, unfiltered look at one's day to day life in a way that is not usually portrayed on social media platforms. So stock up on a chic set of stationery, a fountain pen, a book of stamps, and send a note to a loved one, near or far.

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