Plot twist: While we've been frantically typing our memos and thoughts away on keyboards and touchscreens, a powerful tool for mental acuity has been hiding in plain sight - handwriting.
Call off your grandma's calligraphy lessons' mocking; it's time to roll up our sleeves and dive into the wonderful world of penmanship.
It turns out that practicing this nearly-forgotten art form can help stave off the infamous cognitive bogeyman - dementia!
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Blockbuster Benefits of Handwriting
Jotting notes and love letters by hand isn't just an opportunity to make your friends jealous of your Jane Austen-esque cursive; it's a legitimate brain exercise.
We're not just pulling letters out of an inkwell here.
Various studies suggest some incredibly persuasive reasons to take up handwriting.
The Handwriting and Brain Connection
The magical link between handwriting and cognitive function is a result of the unique physical act of forming each letter, which activates parts of the brain that typing simply doesn't cover.
According to a groundbreaking study in 2014, the handwriting process sets off a complex dance in your noggin, engaging both the motor and visual regions. No wonder our heads start spinning when it comes to cursive!
A Write-ful Way to Memory Lane
Fear not fellow aging souls; it's proven that handwriting can make your memory more resilient, too.
Research by Indiana University discovered that taking notes by hand promotes deeper processing and encoding of information compared to keyboard tappers.
This is your chance to be - that guy - in the lecture hall who insists on being ol' school - all in the name of memory preservation, of course.
Dementia's Worst Nightmare
With its mental gymnastics and memory-boosting powers, handwriting can be a worthy adversary of dementia.
A five-year study found that seniors who engaged in several cognitive activities (including jotting down daily notes) lowered their risk of developing dementia by a whopping five times.
We all know who the real superhero here is: the mighty pen!
Inking Your Way to Mental Agility
Ready to get messy with ink and scribbles? Here's how you get started (spoiler alert: you'll need more than just a thumb for swiping).
- Pick up a pen: Choosing the perfect pen can boost your motivation to write. Go on a shopping spree for some quality ink pens of various sizes and colors.
- Write, write, write: Writing is like riding a bike –– if you don't practice it, you might fall off. Keep practicing those loops and swirls!
- Mix things up: Variety is the cursive of life, so switch between printing and cursive writing to keep your brain on its toes.
- Personalize: Consider creating your lettering style. Are you "all the angles" or more of a "keep it curvy" kind of writer? Make your handwriting your very own Mona Lisa.
The Pen is Mightier Than the Thumb!
It may seem like a chore, but handwriting can be more than just scribbles on a page. You don't need to be an expert calligrapher to reap its benefits. Grab your favorite pen and get ready to feel the power of hand-lettering!
Here are some unique and interesting activities that you can still happily write all by hand:
- Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. It allows you to reflect on your day and process your emotions.
- Letter writing: In a world where emails and texts are the norm, receiving a handwritten letter is a rare and special treat. Take the time to write a heartfelt message to someone you care about, whether it's a friend or family member.
- Creative writing: If you have a passion for storytelling or poetry, writing by hand can add a personal touch to your work. There's something about the physical act of writing that can inspire creativity and help ideas flow more freely.
- To-do lists: While there are plenty of productivity apps out there, writing a to-do list by hand can help you stay focused and organized. Plus, there's something satisfying about crossing tasks off with a pen or pencil.
- Mind mapping: If you're brainstorming ideas for a project or trying to organize your thoughts, mind mapping by hand can be a helpful tool. It allows you to visually see connections and ideas in a way that digital programs may not be able to replicate.
- Planning events: Whether it's a wedding or a dinner party, planning events by hand can be a fun and creative process. You can personalize invitations, make seating charts, and jot down ideas for decorations all in one place.
- Doodling: While it may seem like a mindless activity, doodling can actually have therapeutic benefits. It can help reduce stress and improve focus, making it a great activity to do during a work or study break.
- Recipe writing: If you love to cook, writing down your favorite recipes by hand can be a fun way to create a personalized cookbook. You can add notes and modifications along the way, making it a unique keepsake for future generations.
- Christmas Cards: When is the last time you sent out Christmas cards, Birthday cards, or even thank you cards? A friend of mine got married 20 years ago - she still hasn't sent out thank yous - we laugh about it but honestly, I don't think it's ever going to come. 😒
- Family History: My Dad died when I was only 11 years old. It warms my heart whenever I come across something with his handwriting and signature. Write down your family history and have each member handwrite a short bio so you can look back at their written words once they're gone. I can't read my sister's writing - but I am sure it would give me peace to see her handwriting, if we ever become apart, even if I can't read what she wrote.
Overall, writing by hand has numerous benefits, including improving cognitive development and combatting forms of cognitive decline. Give these activities a try and see how they positively impact your life!
Who knows, it might even make you smarter in the process.
As technology continues to advance, the art of handwriting is becoming a lost skill. However, writing by hand still has many benefits that cannot be replaced by typing on a digital device.
So, with that, it's time to get inked!
Tap below to see why Adults are Loopy for Cursive!