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A Creative Way to Reduce Stress and Reach Goals

Updated on August 1, 2011
Stressed about something?  Work out your worries by sitting somewhere calm and writing a letter to yourself in the future.  It may sound odd, but it can really take a weight off your shoulders!
Stressed about something? Work out your worries by sitting somewhere calm and writing a letter to yourself in the future. It may sound odd, but it can really take a weight off your shoulders!

Write a Letter to Yourself!

There have been times in my life when I have felt very nervous about my future. I think this happens to all of us- we hit tough times, start new things, or are not sure if certain plans will work out. At times like these, I have always wished that I could peek into the future and see what happened- to see if I succeeded, or if I ended up happy, or if conditions improved.

While I have yet to master the art of time travel, I have found a practice that makes me feel better. These days, when I find myself worrying about the future, I simply write myself a letter- one that is to be opened around the time I am worried about.

I have been doing this sporadically for about eight years, and regularly for two. The more letters I write to myself, the more I appreciate the process. It is a kind of meditation; writing letters to one's future self. At the time of writing, it is cathartic to vent bothersome worries and think over a longer time frame. It is also nice to consider what life might be like down the road.

But here's the cool thing- receiving the letters is even better than writing them. Usually, letters to the future are opened long enough after writing that you won't remember what you wrote. This allows you to peek back into a mindset and lifestyle that you may have left years ago- one that you may have forgotten, or at least not considered for a long time.

Reading letters from the past also allows you to consider everything you have achieved in your life. More often than not, challenges that you met at the time of writing your letter have been overcome. Things have worked out, and you are now better off, wiser, and more experienced than before. This puts your current problems into perspective- it allows you to realise that things tend to work out, and that you need not worry so much.

In the end, writing letters to yourself in the future and reading letters from the past allows you to better appreciate the present. By learning that things work out, and by learning to trust your ability to overcome hardship, you can stop fretting about the future and start enjoying every moment as it happens.

There's no telling where the future may take you... but writing to yourself at a later date can make things seem more reasonable- and hearing from yourself in the past helps you realize that things tend to work themselves out.
There's no telling where the future may take you... but writing to yourself at a later date can make things seem more reasonable- and hearing from yourself in the past helps you realize that things tend to work themselves out.

How to Get Started

So you'd like to write a letter to yourself in the future? Awesome!!! At first, I'll admit, it can feel a bit awkward.  You might be asking yourself questions such as  'What do I write?' or 'To what time in the future should I address my letter?'

To start, consider what is on your mind right now.  What have you been worrying about? What are you fighting for? What are your goals? And when will these subjects of great thought and worry theoretically come to pass?

Once you think these thoughts out, you can write a letter to yourself about them and schedule it to be opened at the time by which these current problems would be worked out.

A Note on Format

You can write your letter in any form you like.  Many people prefer the old school pen-and-paper format.  There are two small problems with paper letters however.  One problem is that these letters might be lost over the years.  Another problem is that you might not remember to open it after a significant lapse of time.

For this reason, I have started to write all of my letters in Google Docs.  I do this because the letters will always exist in the cloud, so even if my house burns down, I will not lose them.  I also prefer Google Docs because I can attach each letter to a Google Calendar event which reminds me via email to open them at the specified date of opening.

Honestly, you can choose any format you like.  Just make sure you find and open your letters as intended! Of course, you can simply write a letter and let it go, but sending letters to nowhere does not have the same two-punch impact of both sending a letter to the future and a letter from the past.

So go on- give this a try! Write to yourself in three years, ten years, or nine months.  Then, whenever you find yourself worrying, write another!  It is nice to put your problems away in this manner.  I hope this helps lighten your mental load!

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    • profile image

      Lutvay 

      4 years ago

      much what you can do with Market Samurai, aside from many other useful thigns you can ready on my Market Samurai Review.I know you can get overwhelmed by the quantity of functions and buttons you have on MS, but after

    • profile image

      Tiffany 

      4 years ago

      I was curious if you ever toughht of changing the structure of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh, I hope this helps!! Glad you find the post timely!

    • equealla profile image

      equealla 

      7 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      This advice is timely. Right now there is a gnawing, irritating but small issue in my life with a specific person. I do not quite know yet how to handle it. This is a " lights on" moment for me.

      Thanx Simone for being a friend in need!

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Definitely give it a try! At the very least, you'll get some amusement out of it :)

    • eonsaway profile image

      eonsaway 

      8 years ago from New Mexico, USA

      This is such a terrific idea and unique. Summer months are busy months for our business, but I need to find time to try this and maybe make it part of my life, thanks.

    • Simone Smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Kind Regards- I am so glad you find the concept useful! I hope you enjoy writing letters to yourself as much as I do! It really has made a difference for me.

      stugod- That's SO AWESOME!! I've never replied- I have to try that now!!!

      kaltopsyd - I hope you have fun with it!! Hahaa- that's funny about Simon Cowell's past self thinking he was pitiful and foolish. But I bet the letter was even more of a time-marker then. That's cool!

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 

      8 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      I think I'll just do that! I'll write a letter to my future self.

      This reminds me of an interview I saw between Oprah and Simon Cowell. He read some of a letter that he had written to himself in the past. The letter was to his then-present self telling him how pitiful and foolish he was basically. Now he could look back at the letter and see how far he has come.

      Good Hub.

    • profile image

      stugod 

      8 years ago

      I have been writing letters to myself for years and even started to reply to them ???????????

    • Kind Regards profile image

      Kind Regards 

      8 years ago from Missouri Ozarks - Table Rock Lake

      SimoneSmith, What you wrote in your first paragraph has been on my mind a lot lately. I don't want to repeat past mistakes, and when I ponder how my actions now will affect my future, I wish I too had the ability to peek into the future and see how it turns out. And then your second paragraph, what an intriguing idea. I've never heard of that. Good to hear that opening them years later has shown you that: "More often than not, challenges that you met at the time of writing your letter have been overcome. Things have worked out, and you are now better off, wiser, and more experienced than before." I like the suggestion for using Google Docs. I shared it on Facebook. Kind Regards

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