For me, if something is to be considered therapeutic, it has to be a form of escape. It has to be something that occupies me entirely, and allows me to switch off from the outside world, forgetting my troubles.
With this in mind, a form of entertainment that can take me everywhere from Hogwarts, to outer-space, to Ancient Rome- all within a few hours- most definitely appeals. I’m talking, of course, about a good, old-fashioned book. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no better form of entertainment.
These days, it’s all too easy to scroll through our phones or load up Netflix when we want to relax, and these options can seem less taxing than actually reading something.
However, are we really switched off when we’re sat in front of the television? Let’s be honest- after watching TV for a while, most of us find ourselves reaching for our phones.
How can we truly ‘switch off’ from the outside world when we’re constantly getting notifications on our phones?
Once we’ve reached for said phones, things go from bad to worse. When we’re trying to relax phones are, quite simply, detrimental. How can we truly ‘switch off’ from the outside world when we’re constantly getting notifications from our university email accounts, reminding us of all the work we haven’t done? How can we relax when social media is bombarding us with air-brushed images, reminding us of that diet we keep meaning to start? How can we unwind when our co-workers are constantly in touch, asking us to swap shifts on Tuesday?
This is where a book has the upper-hand. Put simply, we can’t read two things at once. This means that, when we’re reading a book, we’re concentrating solely on said book. This allows us to become absorbed in the plot. When we’re reaching the conclusion of a good murder mystery, I can guarantee that we’re not worrying about the email we forgot to send this afternoon.
As ‘therapies’ go, reading is cheap, too. Pop down to your local second-hand book store, and you’ll be amazed at the array of titles you can pick up, usually for no more than a few pounds. When you’re finished with a good read, you could even sell it back to them, meaning you can justify buying another title that takes your fancy.
I’ve also found that a love of reading is a great conversation starter, and a great way to make friends
As a life-long reader, I’ve also found that a love of reading is a great conversation starter, and a great way to make friends. Chatting about your favourite books with a fellow bookworm is almost as relaxing as the reading itself.
Some of my favourite memories stem from my love of books, from dressing up as Harry Potter characters as a child, to taking my Grandmother to see a stage version of a book that we both happen to love. If you’d like to encourage yourself to read more, I thoroughly recommend making a Goodreads account. You can track your reading habits, whilst chatting with other bookworms online.
Finally, if I haven’t already convinced you to pick up the nearest book, remember this: studies have shown that just 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by over two thirds. Just imagine what swapping twenty minutes of Instagram for twenty minutes of reading could do.
Last modified: 4th November 2019