8 Amazing Health Benefits of Handwriting
For many people these days, handwriting is a lost art. It’s simply faster and easier to use a keyboard. With the voice technology of smartphones, it’s possible to skip writing completely. Don’t ditch your pen and paper, though! Research shows that writing by hand has important health benefits that keyboards just can’t replace.
The Benefits of Writing by Hand
Handwriting offers many advantages, whether you’re taking notes at work or writing your thoughts in a journal.
1. Cognitive Exercise
Did you know that handwriting exercises more areas of your brain than typing? With a keyboard, all you do is press different keys. The process is purely mechanical, like a tool.
On the other hand, writing is artistic. It requires making fine hand movements, choosing words, remembering the shape of letters and applying the ideal pressure for every stroke.
This kind of mental workout keeps your mind sharp. You get even more cognitive benefits with activities such as crossword puzzles.
2. Mental Focus
If you’re having trouble focusing on work, try breaking out a notebook and jotting down a few ideas. Like going back into a room to remember why you went there, the act of handwriting jumpstarts your mind.
3. Learning and Memory
Writing things down helps you remember them better. You’ve probably noticed this with to-do lists.
Taking notes when studying topics helps you recall the most important points. You’re learning twice — once when you hear the information and a second time when you write it down.
Writing lends itself to creative habits that aren’t possible with a keyboard. When some people have a hard time coming up with ideas, they scribble on the page to get their creative juices flowing. Brainstorming by hand is far more effective than using a laptop.
5. Personal Expression
Developing a handwriting style you’re proud of can boost your self-esteem. Writing is closely linked with personality, and different styles can communicate boldness, playfulness, professionalism, elegance and artistic talent.
6. Stress Relief
Putting ideas into writing can help you view problems from a different perspective. Organizing your thoughts this way makes it easier to find practical solutions. It gives you control over situations that seem crazy or chaotic. Plus, when you express what you’re thinking on paper, you may realize that the issue isn’t as serious as you first imagined.
7. Relaxation and Sleep Quality
Many people enjoy writing as a hobby. They use their journal as a place to have fun and express themselves artistically. Poetry, humor, insightful thoughts and famous quotes are all therapeutic.
Writing a little before bed is a great way to wind down physically and mentally for a good night’s sleep. It keeps you focused on positives instead of negatives.
8. Emotional Benefits
Some scientists think that the process of writing by hand involves areas of the brain related to emotions. Handwriting is essentially art, and it can provide similar emotional effects as painting, drawing or listening to music. Keeping a journal can be almost as amazing for your heart as talking through issues with a good friend.
You don't need to be proud of your handwriting to get started with a journal. That said, if you want to have better handwriting, all it takes is practice. Find a style you like and imitate it. Slow down and teach your hand to make the curves you see. After a while, it happens automatically.