How Reading Boosts Your Mental Health
By Brandi Goodman
March is Reading Month. You shouldn't leave the activity to this month only, though. It's wise to continue reading throughout the entire year, whenever you can find the time. Reading is a great activity that works to boost your mental health and improve your mind.
A Form of Escapism
Sometimes, you just need to escape from your life. Getting away for a while can really help to reset your mental well-being. A vacation physically away from your daily life isn't always achievable. You may not have the time off nor the money to make it happen. Reading provides a form of escapism that lets you emerge yourself into a whole new world that isn't your own. You'll be focusing on the character's lives in the story and able to escape into this new place anytime you need.
Time to Yourself
You need alone time so you can recharge and prepare yourself for how draining it can be to spend all day amongst other people. Time to yourself spent reading is a great option because you get to sit in complete silence as you uncover the words on the page and see the story play out in your mind. It's an ideal way to relax.
Because you're getting time to yourself to escape into a different reality, you're also significantly reducing your stress levels. Sitting down to read a good book can lower your blood pressure and keep your stress levels to a minimum. It's beneficial for your mind and your heart.
Learning to Focus and Concentrate
Scattered thoughts -- particularly during a mental health crisis -- can make it extremely difficult to focus and concentrate on the tasks you're trying to accomplish. Reading exercises the brain. It helps you learn to focus on one thing and concentrate on the story being told instead of what's around you. Learning this while reading can help to strengthen your mind and allow you to focus better on real-life tasks when there's no book in your hands.
A Connection With Others
You aren't the only one who's read the particular book you're interested in. Others are out there who have read the same story and also enjoyed it or resonated with it. You can use reading as a connection with others. Go online and look up the latest author you're reading. You may find groups and pages dedicated to that storyteller where you can discuss related topics with other people.
Facebook is a great example of this. Say you enjoy series thriller writer, Mary Stone. You can request to join her Facebook group where her latest stories are discussed by everyone who enjoys her series. Author Mary Stone's Task Force has more than 2,000 members willing to speak with you about the books you all enjoy.
Read when you're feeling down. Read when you're needing an escape. You can read inside. You can read outside. It's a versatile activity that can be done anywhere at any time you're needing a mental health boost.
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