Hello! I hope we are all okay and getting by. Today I am sharing another post to help raise awareness of mental health in aid of Mental Health Awareness Week. I have really enjoyed doing this little series of blog posts this week and I hope it’s encouraged some of you to talk about your own mental health if you are suffering.
Now, it’s no secret that I suffer from anxiety. I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder a few years ago and I have been getting help. I am currently taking anti anxiety medication, I have had CBT in the past and I am doing a lot of mindfulness and meditation to help calm me down when I feel an anxiety attack coming on. Another thing that has helped my mental health massively is reading. Without books I don’t think I would have been able to cope, especially in the times that we are living in now. So, I thought I would share some ways in how reading can help with your mental health.
How has reading helped you?
Reading is proven to be a relaxing activity that can help you destress after a long hard day. Reading is probably the best thing you can do to help you body and brain relax. I tend to find this very true. When I’ve had a hard day I like to curl up with a good book and after a while I just feel a lot calmer.
It provides an escape
When you are reading you get to explore different worlds and it’s a great form of escapism from the hustle and bustle of daily life. You can sit down and become immersed in fictional world for a while and it can honestly be a way to escape from your worries.
You build up empathy for others
Reading can help us improve our ability to feel empathetic towards other people. It can help you to understand people’s beliefs, feelings and thoughts in a non judgemental way by seeing them through the eyes of a fictional character.
It is pleasurable
When you start reading a good book, often you will find it hard to put down, and you become utterly absorbed in it. Yes, you may feel sad when you finish it, but this also gets you excited for the next book the author writes or the next book in the series. When you are doing something you love, your body can also release endorphins, which is the happy hormone.
It helps your brain
Reading can help strengthen your brain and keep your mind stimulated. When you are reading you are learning something new, even in fiction, and our brains thrive on learning new things. I have lost count of the amount of things I have learnt from reading.
Joining a book club
Book clubs/reading groups are a great way to socialise with fellow book lovers. I am a member of a YA book club, and I love going to it and talking about books for an hour or two. Just being able to talk to people with similar interests as me is a great way to keep me grounded and I have made many supportive, amazing friends through this book club.
It can help creativity
Reading can often help us discover some inner creativity. This is certainly the case with me. After reading a great book or talking to an author I become so inspired to start writing and it was due to this that I decided to start my blog and do my MA in Creative, Digital and Professional Writing. If we are doing something creative that we love, we will feel less stressed and will feel calm and at peace with the world.