A world of words
“You matter to me. In a way I cannot explain, you matter to me. And you, you are a marvel… you and all the parts of you.” This is not the kind of thing you normally write to a complete stranger.
Hannah Brencher felt anxious and depressed after graduating from college and moving to New York City. Then she started writing love letters to strangers and leaving them all over the city. The first letter she left on a train simply addressed: “If you find this letter then it’s for you.” Since then she has left letters in libraries and cafes, and even hidden them around the United Nations building.
A recent study published in the journal Emotion reports that performing acts of kindness may help people with social anxiety to feel more positive.
In the study volunteers with high levels of social anxiety were asked to commit multiple acts of kindness on two days a week over a four-week period.
“Sometimes people would give a small gift to somebody, or picking somebody up from work, visiting sick people, thanking a bus driver. They were actually fairly small acts,” explained one of the researchers, “but ones which had a much bigger impact.”