Just to quickly preface this article to say that I’m not, in any way, a doctor or therapist. I know about mental health only what I have experienced, and read in the course of trying to manage my own issues. Please don’t give up on medication or specific treatment plans based on any articles you read this Mental Health Awareness Week, not even one from someone as awesome as me!
However, if you’re looking for a means to de-stress, or an activity that will help you in times of bad mental health, then reading could be your answer, and this is a topic on which I excel. I am an avid reader, and I’ve found over the years that reading is a great activity for when my mental health is bad, I’m stressed, feeling strong anxiety or just really struggling.
It’s a great excuse to be alone, for one thing. It’s also a great reason to curl up and snuggle down under blankets and warm clothes. Reading is an activity that is all about being comfortable, a factor which really helps when you’re struggling mentally.
Another great thing about reading is that it’s a repetitive activity that doesn’t involve any outside factors that could increase stress or anxiety. Re-reading old favourites can be a great way to ensure you know that there are no trigger factors in a text, and make you feel really comfortable and calm in times of unease.
My own anecdotal evidence is backed by new research showing that creative activities are considered good for mental health. The study references reading as one such activity, and whilst it isn’t technically a creative activity in the sense that you’re not actually creating anything, you are using your imagination. As such, reading can be a morale boost at times and offer a solace that perhaps other activities cannot.
So in all, reading is a great hobby for anyone out there who doesn’t currently do it regularly but is looking for an activity that may offer a positive impact on their mental health. I’m not saying it’s guaranteed to improve your mental wellbeing, but it’s not likely to harm it either, and with so many people turning to books to help them, it might work for you too.