Article by AARP Disrupt Aging

Since late March I’ve been getting a little spring in my step every time I head to the mailbox. Anticipating my latest Amazon order? No. That government stimulus check? Nope. I’m hoping for a letter from a 20-year-old man.

Allow me to explain. Jacob is my pen pal. We were paired through the Shut-In Social Club, an organization that Nashville, Tennessee, resident Courtney Cochran founded to unite people during the coronavirus pandemic through the lost art of letter writing.

Pandemic or not, studies show that the act of letter writing has tremendous benefits for both the writer and the recipient. A paper published by Northern Illinois University’s Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy states that, “Although extended letter writing is less common today, given the ease of text messaging and email for instant communication … letter writing can be seen as significant and consequential in people’s lives, serving to maintain familial ties, communicate news and personal information, or resolve disputes.” The simple act of writing itself has many positive benefits, the paper says, including “improve[d] memory function, decreased symptomatology, and greater feelings of happiness.”

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