There are several self-help systems available today, to help us achieve and maintain wellness in most spheres of life. But few are as accessible and low-cost as writing.
James Pennebaker, Ph.D., the leading researcher on the health benefits of Emotional writing──or what is often described in research studies as──Expressive writing says, “Writing about stressful situations is one of the easiest ways for people to take control of their problems and release the negative effects of stress from their bodies and their lives.”
Therapeutic letter writing is one of the various modes of writing, that can help enhance your well-being and happiness.
It’s a practice that can help you overcome what keeps you awake at night. And is a life-course correction, through which you can make constructive narratives out of messy and complicated experiences you’ve had.
Sending the letters that you write is not important. The benefits of the exercise for you lie in the act of writing, rather than that of sending the letters. If you choose to send them, let your intuition guide you into gauging if the intended recipients are ready to receive them.
You can write the letters to yourself, or others still living or long dead.
Keep in mind, that the main objective of this exercise is to communicate a message openly and honestly. Use the process to convey your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences without censoring or judging yourself.
The adage that, “It’s in giving that we receive” runs true in the process of therapeutic letter writing. Try it, to experience a positive shift in your perspectives and blessings.
1. Compassionate Letter
Think of someone you love, who’s going through a stressful life event. Lovingly and kindly, write them a letter, letting them know that they’re on your mind. Use reassuring words of comfort and offer them advice from your own life experiences, that might have been challenging, but led to your healing and growth.
By seeking to alleviate someone else’s suffering, we inadvertently activate the connection to our own hearts, which is an essential step in overcoming self-limiting habits and beliefs.
2. Forgiveness Letter
When you hold on to old hurts, you set yourself up for a life of misery.
Forgiving those who have injured you, can set you free from the bondage of rumination. And allows you to recreate your story so that you’re not the victim but the survivor of your experiences.
It’s important to note that, forgiving someone does not mean you’re condoning their behavior, or that you want to continue having them in your life. It’s a process of healing for yourself through letting go of the past so that you can fully experience your present life joyfully.
In the forgiveness letters, you write, be truthful and acknowledge the pain and distress the recipients caused you by their actions or behavior. Don’t sugar coat anything! Seek to understand without blaming, why they acted the way they did.
However difficult it is, try to imagine their perspective of the events and what they might have felt during and after their actions.
Let the people you’re writing to know, that you’re choosing to forgive them so that you can continue your life journey peaceful.
This is going to be a tough exercise but stick with it, and as with everything in life, the more you do it, the easier it will become.
3. The Gratitude Letter
Write a letter to someone thanking them for something they did for you, gave to you, or inspired you to do. Describe the impact their gift had on you, and how you might have passed on their spirit of giving and inspiration to others in your life.
This is a beautiful exercise, as it helps you to recall pleasant experiences from your past, and triggers positive feelings of warmth, endearment, and joy. Remembering what others did for us, affirms the goodness and compassion that exists in our world, and reminds us of the opportunities available to us if we just stop with our busyness and observe mindfully as life unfolds.
4. The Joyful Letter
This is a fun exercise that helps you utilize your power of visualization.
Research has shown, that your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. So, don’t wait for your dreams to come true, to experience the joyous vibrations of love and happiness you wish for.
Experience those feelings now, by imagining that something you’ve long dreamed of has manifested in your life. And then share your good news with someone, by writing a letter to them.
Nothing is too small or intimate to share. Remember the exercise is for your own benefit and that you will actually not send the letter to anyone.
Unless of course, you have joyous news to share, in which case go on and send the letter!
In your visualization letter, call into existence your wishes by using positive words, filled with warmth and appreciation.
Savor the moment. And let your heart sing as you sow the seeds of your future realizations. Don’t wait for reality to present you the ideal circumstances, influence it by starting to celebrate and enjoy your life now.
5. Blessing Letter
Write a letter offering your blessing to someone that affirms and inspires them. Seek to foster the recipient’s happiness, health, and prosperity. Let them know that your love will follow them throughout their lives.
Affirm their values, strengths, and talents, and remind them of the happy times they brought you pride and joy.
Use the letter as an opportunity to share your insights, wisdom, and legacy with your loved ones, and help guide them through life by shining the light for them through your own learned life experiences.
Remember that your letter writing exercise is confidential and there’s no obligation or expectation for you to actually send the letters. Writing the letters is all you need to do to boost your well-being.