The Voice

The write life: Can writing impact your life?

Sabin Laskoski, Asst. Op Ed Editor

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      When many people take on the task of writing, it is often viewed as that- a dreadful task that warrants procrastination and something that takes away time out of one’s day. Throughout high school, English teachers are constantly faced with groans and complaints when assigning essays and written responses to in-class activities. In college, writing becomes the norm, though it is nonetheless accepted by many students. Even many professors dread writing and the process that must go into forming a piece.

     But what if writing could help people with depression and even simple feelings of sadness and/or boredom? What if that simple journal entry one writes turns into a daily habit that consistently maintains tranquility and organization? Writing can be viewed as a mundane task, yes. But writing for the purpose of regulating one’s mood can be one of the most beneficial things an individual can do.

     Everyone knows that older than old stereotype of keeping a journal, or “diary” as those who fear keeping one refer to it as, and how keeping track of your everyday life is “weird” and something only weak people do. However, if an individual simply takes 5-10 minutes a day to write about how their day has been, the lasting impact those few minutes can have on the writer’s mental health could be astronomical.

     You know when you feel the need to vent and explain your feelings to someone who you know will listen attentively? Keeping a journal is the exact same thing, though there is no one to judge you on your ideas or how you feel. What you decide to write is personal, and it will remain that way unless you decide to share the entries with another.

     Psych Central, a website dedicated to all things mental health and a great website to gain information on mental illness, put out an incredible article which explains the numerous health benefits that keeping a daily journal has for an individual. Along with reducing stress, keeping a journal can also help an individual clarify his/her thoughts, and in doing so, will allow the writer to understand emotions and certain feelings.

      If you feel the need to express your feelings for someone, but you don’t have nearly enough courage to express those feelings in person- write about it! There are many people who gain confidence in themselves through their journal entries, and when it comes to heavy emotions, it is far better to write them down than to keep them bottled up inside!

     The American Psychiatry Association explained in a brilliant article that covered mental health and journaling that keeping a journal, even for only 20 minutes a day, can improve one’s psychological state and induce proper sleeping habits.

     For the thousands of individuals who suffer from insomnia (that metaphorical demon that shouts at you whilst you attempt to sleep) keeping a daily journal can ease the worries and the anxiousness that individuals experience before sleep. When your thoughts and worries about the next day poke and prod at your brain when all you want to do is rest your eyes, try writing down your feelings and finally gain control of yourself!

     Daily writing doesn’t only limit its benefits to mental health; physical benefits are also quite prevalent when keeping a journal. As mentioned earlier, an increased ability to sleep results in the brain functioning at a quicker and more efficient rate than it would with limited sleep, and maintaining a proper sleep schedule is crucial to keeping a healthy bodyweight. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, a website dedicated to informing its readers about mental health breakthroughs and advances in technology and medicine, released an article that covered the concluded research which indicates that those who keep a daily journal have lower blood pressure than those who do not.

     The article goes on to explain that individuals who keep a journal even have increased lung and liver function than the average person! The research is there, and it certainly provides favorable facts about writing for one’s health.

     Obviously, writing is not a true passion for many, and even among those who do it for a living, certain times it can feel demanding and stressful if an outrageous deadline is set or the writing must be “perfect”. But simply writing down thoughts, feelings, emotions and experiences can do the opposite of induce stress- physical writing can alleviate worries.

     The crucial point that must be made when arguing in favor of writing to better oneself is that it should never feel demanding or stressful; if writing in your journal stresses you out or causes anxiety, then maybe it is best to stick to verbal releases.

     But for the millions of Americans who suffer from everyday stress and annoyances, writing and journaling can certainly improve one’s mood and overall function.

Sabin is a freshman English major . He is a staff writer for The Voice

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The write life: Can writing impact your life?