When was the last time you wrote something in longhand, other than signing your name to a check?
You probably can’t remember, because with the advent of technology such as computers and tablets, handwriting has become a long lost art. In fact, many schools only devote one hour or less a week to studying longhand. Sadly, the times of pen and paper are quickly disappearing -as are the health benefits of writing longhand. That’s right, writing on paper has health benefits -and not just strengthening your hand muscles.
Here are some ways that handwriting benefits you:
There is less distraction
Computers tempt you with a myriad of distractions; in fact, I checked my Facebook account while writing this sentence.
Whatever your vice, be it email, Facebook or Twitter, when you’re writing on a computer you probably stop and open a web browser. This makes it more difficult to concentrate on what you’re writing. Further, it trains your body to have a short attention span, meaning that when you do want to pay attention to something it’s more difficult. In fact, it has been shown that people with attention-deficit disorder can increase their attention spans simply by writing as little as twenty short sentences throughout the course of the day.
It calms you down
Technology has increased the pace of our lives so much so that many people find it difficult to simply slow down and relax-which is hazardous to our health. Relaxation has been shown to lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, improve mood, and even help avoid health problems like the common cold.
Writing also has the benefit of being a much slower process than typing, forcing your brain into a slower rhythm. This sense of calm also improves your writing skills. Truman Capote a handwriting expert always wrote on paper, because the slow process of writing gave his brain time to process what he was writing-increasing the quality of his work. This can not only improve your writing, but also your skills at creating an outline.
It gives your brain a workout
Writing by hand requires much more brain power than simply typing on a keyboard. When you write, you engage not only your memory, but also improve your motor skills.
One key difference (of writing by hand) is movement.You are using more of the brain than when you simply type. The linked regions of the brain used for reading are also engaged.
It keeps you from aging
Handwriting won’t keep you from developing liver spots or a paunch in your middle, but it can help you retain the cognitive skills that begin to weaken as you age. As such, many physicians are giving aging baby boomers “handwriting assignments” to keep their brains from atrophying.