Coping Skill: #33. Writing Letters

Writing Letters

Letter Writing can be a great way to communicate with others.

As a writer, I think of many different ways that I can use this skill.  Most of my first thoughts center on creative outlets such as poetry and fiction.  However, typing out past experiences or present worries can help to take away stress.  Then, of course, there are the things that one must write such as academic papers, to-do lists, and social media updates.

However, there is a type of writing that is deeply personal and emotional that we rarely use anymore.  That is letter writing.

Growing up, my grandma and I corresponded with letters regularly.  We would read the same book and communicate what we thought about it.  At the end, we each created a test for the other person.  Her scrawling cursive writing contrasted with my large block letters with scribbles marking mistakes.

All of these letters are saved in a box in my closet.  This cardboard box holds cards from as far back as my sixth birthday to just a few weeks ago.  Almost every letter that I have received is tenderly placed with the rest.  Kittens on Birthday cards, construction paper and lace Valentines, papers filled with updates from friends, apologies from teenage boys forced by parents, supportive recovery notes, and many other types of correspondence reside tucked away from the view of others.  However, I enjoy to look at my cards every once in awhile and remember those who sent each one.

This week, I sent out two handwritten letters.  One was to my therapist who I have been struggling with lately (for more on that story, you can read this post and the next one).  She reached out to me asking for forgiveness, and I am allowing myself to trust her again.  It will take time but is the right choice.  Writing to her allowed me to release anger and hurt that I had pent up inside after our last visit.

Then, I wrote to a woman who I met on a bus to Michigan.  She opened up to me and has been a wonderful pen pal.  Ever since meeting, we have stayed in touch.  Responding to her helped me to see that others care for me and also helped me to realize how far I have come in the last few months.

Writing letters as a coping skill takes time and preparation.  However, it is fairly simple and can be done anywhere.  All you need is a writing utensil, some paper or a card, a stamp, and an address.  After choosing who you want to send a note, just take some time to sit down and write out your thoughts.  The letter can be humorous or filled with pain.  You can open up completely or only address a single issue.  Whatever you choose, try to make the experience a release instead of something that causes more stress.

Although letter writing is a thing of the past, we can still use it currently as coping skill.  After all, receiving letter still fills me with excitement.  By writing to someone else, you will not only help yourself but also them.

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6 thoughts on “Coping Skill: #33. Writing Letters

  1. Cheryl-Lynn says:

    What a lovely post! I love letter writing too. I love receiving mail…when I notice it is either a letter or card (usually a letter is included) I put it on the table, make myself a cuppa, sit down and relax and have my” visit”. I love your exchanges you had with your grandmother…how wonderful! I would love to discuss books I read with my children (adults now and don’t like reading). Good on you for writing to your therapist to voice your anger and allowing her to shift and learn from this experience. A counselor improves only through the expertise of her clients who process their emotions. Good on you again!!

  2. Love this post so much! Technology has its good points but it has done a fair share of taking away from handwritten work. My favorite things to give and to recieve are handwritten letters, notes, and cards. Thanks for posting.

  3. arbjorlin says:

    I definitely agree with you that letter writing is a wonderful way to cope with things. Personally, I have found letter writing to be a helpful and healing thing to do, especially when dealing with negative emotions or issues involving another person or persons. For example, a while ago, my family was having some issues with my extended family, and my brother and I got extremely angry and upset with certain family members. So, we sat down together and wrote long letters to them detailing our anger and hurt, and even though we didn’t send the letters, we found the entire process to be extremely therapeutic; a way to honestly purge our feelings without having to suffer the consequences of what would have happened if we had actually sent the letters.

    • That sounds like a great way to deal with your emotions. Not sending the letters also helps sometimes because then you do not need to deal with the response of others. Thanks for commenting.

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