There’s just something so nostalgic and pleasant about receiving a handwritten letter or card in the mail. We all know that typing an email or sending a text is much faster, but the impact of a handwritten note truly goes a long way. And it seems writing by hand is not only more impactful on the recipient, but also on your brain — researchers have found the best way for your brain to comprehend and retain information is to write by hand on paper.
Here’s what we know:
1. Writing by hand is the best way to take in new information. There’s a direct correlation between the act of writing something down on paper in your own unique handwriting and the ability to retain the information and recall it later when it is relevant. That stronger tactile memory is easier for the brain to recall, even when the paper isn’t present later; and so is the information the brain associates with that learning experience.
2. Writing by hand helps with reading comprehension. It starts when we’re children, learning to read and write. Written language leads to understanding of the visual representation of the letters together, and the act of creating our own repetitive, unique handwriting leads to stronger reading comprehension and maturity of language recognition.
3. Typing does not engage with your brain in the same way that writing by hand does. Typing is great for a lot of reasons, but it doesn’t replace writing by hand when it comes to information retention and brain engagement. Typing a keystroke will not challenge the memory in the same way that writing does, and therefore won’t make it easier to remember later.
So go ahead and write it down — by hand!