3 min read

Handwriting makes you smarter.

Handwriting can be seen as an incredible workout for the brain that enhances its functions in many unforeseen ways.
Handwriting makes you smarter.

Five Element Writing favours handwriting, and there are good reasons why. Writing with pen and paper has a number of unique benefits for your mind that a keyboard could never provide.

Perhaps the most significant is the fact that handwriting makes you smarter, but it's far from the only one. Many of the benefits are even effective solutions from problems related to modern life. Stress for example.

So, buy yourself a great pen and a nice notebook, and you are far better off in your writing process than you would have thought. In case you have doubts, here is a list of some scientifically proven benefits of handwriting,

  • Handwriting affects the whole mind. Not only are several areas of the brain active during handwriting. It also activates a unique layer of neural links around the brain called the “reading circuit”, which makes the active areas work together.
  • The activity of the “reading circuit” creates a spill-over effect from handwriting to reading. As a result, we become better readers by writing with pen and paper.
  • The “reading circuit” is not activated during typing on a keyboard, and writing on a keyboard is much less effective for developing the brain than handwriting.
  • Handwriting makes you smarter. The high activity of the brain as a whole enhances your cognitive functions, which again creates a number of positive effects.
  • Handwriting makes it easier to remember and learn new things. It helps your brain create a conceptual overview of a subject and understand arguments better.
  • Handwriting boosts creativity. It's easier to get ideas with pen and paper than with a computer.
  • Handwriting delays the ageing of your brain and keeps it young.
  • Handwriting calms you down and makes you relax. Especially stream of consciousness writing has the same effect as meditation and prayer by bringing us into a flow state, and cursive writing has shown to enhance this effect.
  • Handwriting forces you to slow down and “smell the ink” and “feel the paper”. It creates a mindfulness effect that reduces stress.
  • Handwriting makes it easier to learn a language. It's a multi-sensory activity where your hand shares information with the language processing areas of your brain, and as your eyes track what you are writing, you engage these areas and become aware of the language.  
  • Handwriting heals the mind. Studies show that handwriting has a healing effect on trauma, depression and anxiety. By combining focused, expressive handwriting with the right phrases it increases the speed of any emotional and cognitive healing process.
  • Handwriting heals the body. It works as an immune system booster and has been proven to heal physical wounds faster as when not writing. It has also shown to be able to help cancer patients heal.
  • When people try a new pen, 97% of them will write their own name.
  • Writing promotes reading, and books contain 50% more rare words than prime-time television. Reading (and thereby writing) is a much more efficient way of improving your vocabulary than watching TV.
  • Handwriting is cheap compared to buying a computer. You can get going with pen and paper for just a few dollars (and if you ask the local school nicely they will probably give you a set for free).

Sources:

The Importance of Cursive Handwriting Over Typewriting for Learning in the Classroom.

Why writing by hand makes kids smarter

The effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development in pre-literate children

Neuroanatomy of Handwriting and Related Reading and Writing Skills in Adults and Children with and without Learning Disabilities

Why writing by hand could make you smarter

The “handwriting brain”: A meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies of motor versus orthographic processes

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking

Note-taking with computers: Exploring alternative strategies for improved recall

A Learning Secret: Don't Take Notes with a Laptop

The effects of bedtime writing on difficulty falling asleep: A polysomnographic study comparing to-do lists and completed activity lists.

Can writing about pain and secret feelings really help boost your body’s immune system?

Expressive Writing, Emotional Upheavals, and Health

Opening Up, Second Edition: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions

Expressive Writing in Psychological Science

Randomized Controlled Trial of Expressive Writing for Patients With Renal Cell Carcinoma

Randomized, Controlled Trial of Written Emotional Expression and Benefit Finding in Breast Cancer Patients

There Is No Left Brain/Right Brain Divide

8 New Ways of Looking at Intelligence