While sending quick emails and text messages is convenient, we all need to slow down. There is so much value and beauty in an original, handwritten letter. They show the person you send them to, “Hey, I am thinking about you, and I think you are important enough for the effort that goes into sending a letter.” It is a genuine way to show someone just how much they mean to you. So, here are the reasons I think we should fill up our mailboxes with something better than bills and advertisements.

1. Handwritten letters are one of a kind.

Receiving a letter is very underrated. Handwritten letters are all originals! The handwriting of someone we love is priceless. Letters can contain powerful words that can be read over and over, but only by the one who it is given to. Every single one of us has our own, unique handwriting. The letters that are individually written can be saved far beyond the lifetimes of whoever sent them. Emails and texts are stored on multiple computers and devices, whereas with a note in letter form, there is only ever going to be one original that the receiver has the privilege of keeping. Looking back and reading old letters that were sent between people in generations before us serves as a looking glass into the past. Letters can describe feelings of love and gratitude and feel like a time capsule of what was happening at that moment in time.

2. They give us a break from screens.

Nowadays, we are all so attached and dependent on our phones and screens. Writing a letter requires us to log off. Being unplugged means there is no way to switch tabs to Facebook or get into other texting conversations and become sidetracked. It pulls us deeper into our thoughts and we have the opportunity to only focus on the words that are going to be sent on to our loved ones.

3. It’s actually good for you!

Telling other people how much they mean to you, can make you realize how much love you are surrounded by and makes you feel more satisfied. Knowing that you are going to make someone else happy makes you happy too! Studies show that the giver, who expresses their appreciation, benefits through better sleep and health, has less anxiety and, overall, more life satisfaction. This creates a lasting and positive connection between the two people in the relationship.

4. Letters can serve as international connectors.

People have been communicating through snail mail as pen pals for ages. It can connect people from all over the world and help them to understand and experiencing different cultures, just through a pen and paper. Letters make us feel like we are citizens of the world, and can give us knowledge of what other cultures practice. It reminds us that although each country is unique and individual, we still have some things in common.

5. They are a tradition that has lasted for thousands of years.

Letters have stayed the same for thousands of years. The first stamped letter, just like what we have today, was sent during the reign of Queen Victoria in 1840. It was the original way to communicate, no matter how far apart two people were. It is also a great way to connect with relatives or grandparents in a way that they appreciate and are used to. My grandparents are very appreciative of all of the ways that I communicate with them, but I know that they really enjoy reading handwritten letters and getting to look back on some that I have sent them in the past. I think that this is a tradition that will eventually come to an end because of how technologically advanced we are, so we should enjoy it while we can.

Handwritten letters prove to the recipient that they are worth the time and effort that is put into buying the supplies, writing something sentimental, looking up their home address and sending it off to them. Letters confirm the importance of a relationship by showing praise, expressing gratitude and kindness in a deeper form of appreciation than a quick email. All in all, writing letters to the ones we love is so much more important than we realize, and it’s also a perfect excuse to buy some pretty stationary and pens.