Is reading really effective at improving your mental health?

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Hi everyone! So I wanted to do a quick post on reading as a strategy to deal with anxiety and low mood. I like to talk about mental health on my blog and Twitter and I'd be really interested to hear your own experience with reading and anything you find particularly helpful for your mental health.

Reading was  something I struggled with. I remember when I was a child, I was reading a fantasy book and my teacher told me it wasn't appropriate and an adult picked out a classic for me to read instead. I absolutely hated it and this put me off reading for a very long time. I didn't start to get back into reading until I was a teenager and all of my friends were reading but I still found it extremely difficult to concentrate on a book and didn't read much. For years I felt like I was behind on all of these books and I'd missed out on a lot of good books that everyone else had experienced at the right age. Side note but this is why I am a huge advocate for letting children read what they want to and for helping children to read freely.

It took me time to be able to focus on a book and really enjoy reading many pages in one go. I kept trying and eventually got to the point where I could do so. I still have problems picking up a book because of my mental health. It is much easier to stay in your thoughts and scroll than to make yourself focus on something that consumes your mind. BUT I know from experience that once I start reading it, I feel really really good. It distracts my mind and makes me feel more content and even afterwards I keep thinking about the book. So I try to get myself to read, even though it feels very difficult.

I recently noticed that when I sat down (after a lot of procrastination) and just kept reading, even with breaks and having a goal of how many pages I wanted to read: when I hit that goal and I'd read quite a bit for the day, I felt in such a good mood! My anxiety and lack of motivation had calmed, I kept thinking about the story and I felt really positive. I cannot exaggerate enough how good this made me feel. So, I'm going to keep getting myself to read, even though I really don't feel like it beforehand or I'm tired or don't feel too well. I am going to remind myself of how good I felt. I might set goals too and keep trying to read a lot each day if possible and see how my mood and mental health are. 

Do you feel like this before and after reading? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you to my Ko-Fi members!~

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Pumpernickel House Publishing- check out their website and journal issue 1
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1 comment:

  1. Reading is a big part of self-care for my mental health. It's one of the few activities that allows me to 'shut my mind off' for a moment and let go of what's going on in life. Instead, I'm just present in that moment, enjoying the story that's being told.

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