Today as I was going through cabinets and organizing things I pulled out my box I keep of handwritten notes and cards people have written to me over the years and I began reading a few of them. What an awesome way to boost your emotional well-being!
Let’s face it – if someone asked you to show them all of the gifts you’ve gotten for the last ten years on your birthday for for Christmas could you remember what they were? I know I couldn’t…(…except for the time my husband surprised me with a new Bentley convertible for my birthday…but that one would be impossible to forget…).
On the other hand if someone asked you to show them the box of handwritten notes and cards you’ve gotten over the years from people we’d all know exactly where our special box full of them is. That’s because there is something undeniably special about receiving a handwritten note or card and that is why we save them.
For those who feel awkward about sending handwritten notes or think they won’t be valued by the recipient, you ought to consider the results of this study that was published in the journal Psychological Science, titled “Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciation” conducted three different experiments in which participants wrote handwritten notes to express gratitude to someone and then they were asked to predict how surprised, happy, or awkward they thought the recipient was going to feel upon receiving their note.
The results of the study showed that those who wrote the notes underestimated how happy their note would make the recipient feel and they underestimated how much the recipient would appreciate receiving it. It also showed that those who wrote the notes had overestimated concerns that the recipient would feel awkward about receiving the note. The study also showed that the gesture of expressing gratitude in a handwritten note ended up boosting the emotional well-being and happiness level of BOTH the person who wrote the note and the person who received the note.
While locked down in your homes I highly recommend getting out your own special box of handwritten notes people have given you out and read through a few. It will remind you how of just how good they make you feel. Then grab a pen and send a few notes out yourself so you can make someone else feel great as well!
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the newly released book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )