Books: The Ultimate Stress Busters!

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“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life”  -W. Somerset Maugham

Bisma Shafi

THERE are numerous ways of making time for yourself, especially when stress and anxiety frequently take up the toll. What if you get to know that there is an easy escape for it? Amid “Crisis” we hardly have an opportunity to physically transit to another time or place. Reading fiction can do wonders. It can take you from the real world to the virtual one in a jiffy. You need not worry for not being a voracious reader- it just takes 6 minutes to submerge yourself into a story to de-stress you.

When you grab a good book it takes away all your troubles exposing yourself to new world, its ideas and philosophies .You are actually taking your mind on vacation and that too free of cost- if you have a good library nearby.

Researches have shown that reading miraculously reduces stress than listening to music, sipping tea, and strolling. Reading for just 6 minutes reduces stress by 68 percent. Psychologists are of the opinion that reading distracts our mind from whatever is causing us stress, it decreases blood pressure and lowers the heart rate. It improves the overall health! It soothes the mind and relaxes the body. When you grab a good book it takes away all your troubles exposing yourself to new world, its ideas and philosophies .You are actually taking your mind on vacation and that too free of cost- if you have a good library nearby.

Reading books not only de-stresses you, but it is a window to the world and gives you the vision of the things that you have never ever imagined to understand.

Reading particularly, fiction is meditative for it completely involves the mind and imagination of the reader. Activities having meditative qualities that require the brain to focus completely on a single task are great stress busters. Creativity is stimulated and one enters an altered state of consciousness. Reading is linked to good brain health in old age, for it combats mental decline.

Reading can also lead to catharsis (release of pent-up emotions) by making one relate to various characters and situations which can trigger various feelings and emotions, many of which are quintessential for a healthy psychology. Reading contributes to the possibility of an individual becoming more empathetic. It increases self-awareness. Many a times, it results in introspection and ultimately to self-discovery. It paves the way for improved relationships.

Yet another source of great benefits are self-help books. Self-help books are a source of engagement as well as development. They are an effective means to reduce stress, and groom one’s personality.

In addition to the above mentioned benefits, reading books enriches one’s vocabulary, promotes new knowledge, develops analytical skills, challenges our logic and reason, and thereby, develops deep acumen and insight.

However, what is important is to be selective and make wise choices. When reading with an aim to reduce stress, opt for a collection that can be a source of hope, give you ideas and inspiration like autobiographies, motivational books, rags to riches stories, for such books might even inspire you to seek ways of overcoming various challenges in your life. Fairy tales, adventure and comic books can be a great source of amusement for children in these distressing times.

Reading books has been recognised to have huge therapeutic potential. In fact, bibliotherapy or the use of literature to support good mental health is a versatile and cost effective option used to address a variety of mood-related and mental health concerns.

Reading books has been recognised to have huge therapeutic potential. In fact, bibliotherapy or the use of literature to support good mental health is a versatile and cost effective option used to address a variety of mood-related and mental health concerns.

“Reading is a powerful stress reliever, and it’s something we can all fit into our schedules.”

So, befriend books and embark on a beautiful journey.

It’s all well worth your time!

Bisma Shafi is a freelancer and  has done her Master’s in English Language and Literature. [email protected]

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