Your Brain on Handwriting


Today, much of what we write happens by way of keyboard. Emails have replaced letters; Word documents have replaced notebooks. So much so, in fact, that a British study conducted last year found 1 in 3 people hadn’t used paper and pen in over six months.

In a lot of ways, computers help us in the workplace. We get things done more efficiently, saving both time and money. For those reasons and more, the day of the pen is long gone. But with it, what else are we leaving behind?

There are cognitive and emotional benefits to handwriting that we just don’t get from punching letters on a keyboard. Writing by hand can’t replace your precious computer, but by incorporating handwriting into your daily tasks, you might reap these benefits.

Benefits of Writing on Paper

  • It sharpens cognitive skills. On both aging and developing brains, handwriting has been shown to improve cognitive function, including fine-motor skills.
  • It boosts memory. I, for one, am always more likely to remember something I’ve written down. Especially in children, studies find that those who write by hand have better long-term memory retention.
  • It’s calming. Do you know someone who journals as an emotional outlet? There’s science to back that up. It’s called graphotherapy, and it says that writing a statement you wish to be true can be self-fulfilling. If we write things often enough, we absorb them. “Rush hour is not stressful” might be a helpful written adage for commuters.
  • It inspires creativity. When you write by hand, you use both sides of the brain. The combination of processing thoughts and forming cursive words makes both the right and left sides work together. The slower pace of handwriting compared to typing also allows your ideas to breathe, inspiring creativity in the process.

So, dust off that notebook and start building a stronger brain!

The Power of Writing It Down: 5 Reasons to Put Pen to Paper


5 Reasons to Write Things Down

1. The best way to increase the odds of achieving your goals is to write them down.

Research has shown only three out of 10 people write down their goals; and yet that 30 percent has been found to achieve more than the other 70 percent combined.

2. If you write it out in longhand, you’re more likely to remember it.

Studies have found the act of touching pen to paper allows you to recall what you’re writing in a way that touching a keyboard does not.

3. A handwritten sentence holds more permanence than one typed on a screen.

Sometimes we need to read our initial thoughts in order to gain a deeper understanding of the intended result. You can’t hit the backspace button on a notepad; nor can you hit one on life.

4. There are fewer disruptions available when writing on pen and paper.

We all know that when you want to get something done, the first step is avoiding the Internet. When writing longhand, you shut out the temptations of checking social media feeds, sports scores or the latest celebrity gossip.

5. Written lists allow a more tangible way of tracking success.

Fellow list-writers understand there are few things as satisfying as placing a physical checkmark beside an item on a to-do list. Written lists and goals enable you to see and celebrate your progress.

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