Opinion: Journaling is a beneficial tool for improving mental health


Photo courtesy of Lilli Libowitz

Lilli Libowitz journals, something she recommends all people do.

Lilli Libowitz, Reporter

As I close my journal after a 20 minute writing session, I exhale and feel much of my stress has been relieved. In the midst of all the chaos going on in the world, journaling has been my constant. It has been the glue to my day for the past 10 months and helps me ensure the days aren’t merging together.

Journaling is a healthy way to express yourself and can be beneficial to your mental health. It is commonly used as a therapeutic tool to relieve stress, and it can help with depression and anxiety. A study from Columbia University shows that between 2005 to 2015, depression increased among American teens from 6.6% to 7.3%. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), almost one in three of all teenagers ages 13 to 18 experience an anxiety disorder at some point during their teenage years.

The University of Rochester Medical Center says that journaling can help “control your symptoms and improve your mood” in various ways. These benefits include helping one process their well-being, fears and feelings, being able to track one’s symptoms and psychological triggers, helping improve one’s self-esteem and self-confidence and providing a safe space to identify negative ideas, behaviors and thoughts.

Along with aiding one’s mental health, journaling is said to help physical health by improving immune function. A study from Scientific American Journal in 2013 found that adults who journal their thoughts and feelings on a daily basis strengthen their immune system. Writing daily has also been proven to improve both lung and liver functions and has even been shown to help people heal faster from physical illness and decrease their risk of illness.

High school English teacher Nancy Wassner has been an avid journaler for most of her life, beginning in fifth grade. Wassner journaled a lot particularly in college and while traveling, as writing helped her keep track of what she was doing and be able to trace back all the memories, people and places. 

Wassner is passionate about journaling as it allows her to get her thoughts outside her brain and put everything in perspective. In the fall of 2016, Wassner created a journaling Z’man Kodesh. This Z’man Kodesh provided her and others the opportunity to have a consistent time to journal on a daily basis. 

“I really value the morning time Zman Kodesh gives me to journal,” Wassner said. “Journaling is important for my mental brainscape and makes me feel like a more balanced person. I missed journaling when I stopped. Now, I journal daily, even in the summer.”

Though I just began journaling at the beginning of quarantine, I can drastically see the impact it has made on me in just 10 months. This passion is deep-rooted as journaling allows me to put my thoughts and feelings into words. I recommend trying journaling at one point in your life. Journaling is a good practice to get into, and though the results do take time, it is truly worth it.