I love reading. Relaxing on the couch in my comfy pants (I own several pairs) with a hot cup of tea and a good book is one of my favourite things to do. There is nothing like getting lost in a story and it's characters to take your mind off the world around you and to give yourself a temporary break from all those stressors which are a part of your everyday life. I can quite happily read for hours at a time and have been known to stay up well past midnight reading because I just could not put a book down (thank you, Harry Potter).
There are a myriad of benefits to reading - vocabulary and spelling development, education, fostering creativity and imagination and self improvement (amongst others) - however, the focus of this post is on using the act of reading itself (as opposed to the subject matter of the material being read) as a tool for managing stress.
In the age of constant contactability and connectivity, meditation has recently enjoyed a resurgence as being (with good reason) a way to manage stress, be present in the moment and calm our ever-whirring brains. In my opinion, reading a book achieves the same outcome (as does exercise - but I have already covered that in another post). So if you have attempted meditation and just can't get into it, I suggest you pick up a book and read some of it everyday, even if it's only for 10 minutes. Choose a book, whether fiction or non-fiction, that interests you, go somewhere where you cannot be interrupted (before going to sleep each night is a good time) and let your poor over-worked brain focus on something other than whatever it is that is causing you stress.
Reading has the added bonus of being a completely portable and flexible stress management tool. You can do it anytime and just about anywhere. I am lucky enough to be able to read for almost an hour every week day, as I commute to and from work by bus. This work-day reading time is invaluable for my mental well-being, as it serves as a perfect transition between work-life and home-life and allows me to switch off/de-compress from my busy and, at times, stressful work day (this in turn makes me a much nicer person to be around when I get home).
I know that not everyone likes reading, but I would wholeheartedly encourage you to try it. You don't have to go out and buy books - borrow some from friends or family, or join the library (it's free). Make a commitment to yourself and your mental health and add this simple and (in my opinion) highly enjoyable pastime to your arsenal of stress management tools. Your stress levels will thank you for it.
Love, Health and Happiness,
Hi! I'm PrayerBaby. I love food, fitness and travel. I'm excited for you to join me on my creative journey.