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Change Your Life by Changing Your Handwriting

Grapho-therapy - Change Your Life by Changing Your Handwriting

As Americans, we put a great deal of effort into transforming ourselves for the purpose of improving our lives. Termed as "self-improvement", it is a 10-billion dollar a year industry that encompasses a variety of methods for changing any number of personality traits. One method weíve recently stumbled across is Grapho-therapy, the practice of improving our personality by making changes in our handwriting.

In order to learn more about Grapho-therapy, we enlisted the help of handwriting expert, Bart Baggett. Aside from teaching handwriting analysis, Baggett is a highly sought after public speaker, a noted author, and a qualified legal expert on the subject of forensic handwriting analysis.

According to Baggett, Grapho-therapy has been around for quite a while. His first lesson, however, came at the age of 14 when his father (also a professional handwriting analyst) suggested that he make a few specific changes to his handwriting.

"I began seeing some positive changes in my personality," claims Bart. He goes on to say that Grapho-therapy not only improved his self-confidence and ability to focus, he is convinced that it is directly responsible for setting the course for his career and personal life as an adult.

Why it works
Baggett says that over the last several years, medical studies utilizing MRIs have proven that different stimuli cause different portions of the brain to react. He says one study in particular (performed at UC Davis) proved the same to be true when applying minor variances to finger movements. Considering that a change in finger movement is required to alter a pen stroke, Baggett asserts that an adjusted pen stroke creates the possibility for an alternate neural pathway to be formed.

"Think of it like physical rehabilitation," Baggett suggests. When the brain experiences trauma it is common for a neural pathway to shut down, thus affecting a patientís ability to perform a certain function. A physical therapist is brought in and by repeatedly assisting the patient to perform the function, a new neural pathway is created and the function returns.

Baggett credits Tony Robbins with popularizing the idea of altering language in order to positively affect our thought process. He says that a similar type of transformation can be achieved when we change our handwriting. Self-confidence, diplomacy, defensiveness to criticism, fear of ridicule, the ability to focus, and attention to detail are just some of the aspects of our personality that Baggett says can improve through the use of Grapho-therapy.

Changing for the better
Changing our writing randomly, or merely for aesthetic value, could be counterproductive at the very least. So, before we change anything, Baggett says itís important to first understand some of the more prominent writing characteristics in terms of their effect on our personality.

The first major characteristic has to do with our ability to write in a straight line. Using a sample that was written on a non-lined piece of paper, take notice of the angle on which your writing moves. Writing that has a tendency to run "uphill" is indicative of an optimistic person. In turn, writing that moves "downhill" can indicate pessimism and even depression.

The next major characteristic is the overall length of the individual pen strokes. According to Baggett, longer pen strokes represent enthusiasm and energy, and are highly relevant to the quality of leadership. He says one of the best examples of this correlation can be seen in a personís signature. In cases where the author underlines the signature, the aforementioned traits are even stronger. He also claims that signatures with a first letter written disproportionately larger than the rest of the name generally belong to people with greater confidence and a more positive ego.

One of Baggettís favorite indicators is the crossing of the letter "T". He says itís pretty simple. The higher on the vertical line that the "T" is crossed, the higher the personís self-esteem. The reverse is also true. Mr. Baggett especially likes this trait because he says, "Itís one of the easier ones to correct and the changes are noticeable within days."

If you or someone you know is overly defensive, even borderline paranoid, you may want to play close attention to their lower case "d". Baggett says that people who portray these characteristics have a tendency to draw a large loop (eyelet) as the stem of the "d", as opposed to simply writing a straight, vertical line.

Do you have an issue expressing yourself honestly and with candor? If so, take a look at your "O"s. Imperfect "O"s, especially those that contain double inner-loops at the top are typically written by secretive, or less than honest people.

If the ability to make quick decisions is an issue, you may need to adjust your writing of "M"s and "N"s. People who write pointier peaks generally tend to make quicker decisions. In turn, people who round their peaks can be indecisive. However, this is a good example of not throwing the good out with the bad. While people who round these letters may be indecisive, many times they are also more patient than the people who write them pointy.

Baggett says, "It generally takes 3 to 4 weeks of adjusting your handwriting before you notice any changes." But he cautions that there's a little more to the story than simply changing a few pen strokes. While it may be the start to creating alternate neural pathways, it doesn't necessarily erase the old behavior.

To create new behavior while ridding yourself of the old, Baggett suggests attaching conscious thought to your newly adjusted pen stroke. In other words, every time you cross your "T" at its highest point, think the same empowering thought. Baggett says that this behavior causes negative neural pathways to "dry up". At the same time, it creates a new and positive habit. He claims that habits are nothing more than "a bundle of neural pathways that repeatedly fire in sequence."

Grapho-therapy and children
Our expert was quick to point out that Grapho-therapy is tremendously beneficial to children, and it's for many different reasons. First and foremost is the strong correlation between good penmanship and good grades, especially during elementary school. A close second is its ability to rid children with poor handwriting of the shame and embarrassment they often feel. It is important to note that while the main point of Grapho-therapy is not to write neater, better penmanship is one of its positive effects.

Baggett also says that analyzing your child's handwriting will tell you a lot about them as individuals. This is beneficial for obvious reasons, but it primarily allows you a better look at the issues that are giving them the most trouble. Not only can graphology be used to correct these issues, but many other methods can be brought in as well. The results will be a well-adjusted child, and better communication between the child and you.

Here are several tips for improving your child's handwriting:

  1. Write your child's "problem letters" on a sheet of paper. Have your child repeatedly trace over the letter to get accustomed to the feeling of writing it correctly.
  2. Using your fingertips, trace letters on your child's back. Have them guess the letter you are writing. Switch places and allow the child to trace on your back as well.
  3. Make a sheet cake and cover it with icing. Using the icing sold in tubes, have your child write the entire alphabet on the cake.
  4. When your child is old enough, help him or her start a journal, encouraging them to write in it everyday.

Baggett recommends dedicating 15 minutes, 4 to 5 days a week, to helping your child improve their handwriting. He insists that doing so will not only improve their grades, but it also helps them to live a happier life.

To learn more about how Grapho-therapy can improve your life, or the lives of your children, log onto to Bart Bagget's website at

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