Can I find a pen pal anywhere?

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Soon it will be back again, the quiet time where we meet friends and family, enjoy good food and take time to look back on the past year with gratitude. Stop! Stop what is this! It's the year 2020, when the pandemic threatened our health and shook many families badly. What should we be happy about there? What to be grateful for Researchers have found out that it is gratitude that can help us when many things seem cloudy and uncertain. It is even more useful to write a thank you letter.

Happiness

In an experiment, two psychologists from the University of Chicago had students write and send a thank you letter. During the exercise, they should think about the opportunities and fortunes they had encountered in their lives and which people were involved. They should then write them a letter and thank them. Then they should provide information about their condition during and after writing. The recipients were also interviewed. Result: The subjects felt significantly better after sending the letter than before. At the same time, however, they underestimated the positive effect, the joy and surprise that their letter had on the recipients of the thank you letter.

More mindfulness is hardly possible

Writing, especially by hand, also has many other positive effects: If we take notes by hand instead of on a keyboard, we can remember things better. When we write a letter by hand, we need to concentrate. What do we want to write anyway? In which order? What is important? Handwriting not only delights the recipient, it also has a direct impact on our thought process. Moving paragraphs back and forth like on a computer does not work on a sheet of paper. So writing is really work on the thought here. And at the same time a wonderful exercise in mindfulness. We focus on the paper, the pen, the message and on writing in a way that the other can read it well. Anyone who is interested in calligraphy or has ever dealt with a foreign alphabet and has forgotten the world while trying to write the new letters knows that only the letters, the pen and the paper still exist. More mindfulness is hardly possible.

Pen pals wanted

But who should write a letter to? If you don't have a target person for thank you or love letters, we recommend a traditional pen friendship. There are platforms on the Internet where like-minded people can meet. The first contact takes place electronically, then the envelopes flutter into the house. A small selection:

  • Children between five and twelve can find Gspändli to write on at minispick.ch (sub-heading “Pen pals”).
  • On globalpenfriends.com or penpalworld.com, potential pen pals all over the world can be found using a search mask. The lingua franca is mainly English. On penpal-gate.net, the search for pen pals (in addition to gender and age) can be filtered by keywords (equestrian sport, garden, etc.) or countries.
  • mylanguageexchange.com brings pen pals together who want to get to know each other in a foreign language. From Albanian to Zulu.
  • Those who prefer to keep things short and want to receive postcard greetings from all over the world will find happiness at postcrossing.com. For every postcard sent there is a greeting back - from anywhere in the world. Similar to elves, but with postcards.

There is a practical wikihow for all questions about pen pals.