Today is World Book Day: a global reason to celebrate all that’s good about books and reading. The point of World Book Day is to get kids “exploring the pleasure of books”, but for adults it’s also an excuse to indulge in the curiosity and escapism a good book can provide. (As if you need an excuse!)
But reading isn’t just about entertainment or killing time on a commute. Studies have shown that bibliotherapy (a form of psychotherapy using reading materials) can help to reduce people’s negative thoughts and mild depressive symptoms.
Here are 10 ways reading can have a therapeutic effect:
- Reading helps you make sense of your world and your place in it. There’s a book somewhere that will have a story or situation that is similar to yours, and that you can identify with.
- Metaphors can make issues easier to come to terms with – especially if the problems are hard to talk about.
- Losing yourself in a good book is a great stress-reliever. It’s about creating some me-time, switching off from life’s stressors, and escaping to another world.
- Books stimulate the imagination and creativity. They may even tempt you to write your own feelings in a journal to help you process and understand what’s going on for you.
- You can rekindle your passion for stories and feel more alive and connected.
- You can feel uplifted and know you’re not alone by reading other people’s situations and understanding how they process and express their emotions.
- A word, a phrase, a gesture in a book may hold the essence of something deeply felt within that’s never been expressed before.
- Stories can hold deeper meanings for your life and touch you in a way that real-life situations can’t.
- Libraries are a ‘healing place for the soul’, according to the Ancient Greeks. The very act of reading can be healing – especially when you create the time and space.
- It can be exciting to go into a bookshop or library without knowing what you’re looking for, and trusting that the right book will leap out at you with the right message at the right time.
So, trust the process and go and grab a good book. You’ll feel all the better for it.