May 28, 2020 5:33 pm

How Books Can Liberate You From Pandemic Distress

It Requires Wisdom to Acquire Wisdom

“I’ve traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I’ve been where no-one’s been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books.” –Janice James

Aaniqa Qayoom

BOOKS play a significant role in our life. They say that “When you open a book, you open a new world”. I believe that everyone would agree with this statement as books have always been inseparable part of the civilised world. For the majority of people, books are part of their everyday life.  A book is like a best friend who never walks away from you.

Books are packed with knowledge, gives one insight into life, teaches one to love and over come fear besides helpful advice at the time of need. One can read about anything under the sun. Books have been here from ages and without them we would not be knowing of our past, ancestors, cultures and civilizations. Have you ever thought what would have happened if intellectuals never documented their times?

A book communicates knowledge and not only knowledge but transmits wisdom from one generation to other. They say that “The more you read, the more well-read you are”. In simple terms what this means is that the more you read the more exposed you are to new realities. Your attitudes change and your ideas and imagination widens. I believe that one’s personality and behaviour are all reflection of the books he or she reads. Nothing can add to our intellect more than reading a book.

As aptly said –“Learning gives creativity, and creativity leads to thinking, thinking provides knowledge, knowledge makes you great.” Reading a book seems like a pretty straightforward task, doesn’t it? And in some cases, it is. If you’re reading purely for entertainment or leisure, it certainly can be that easy. There’s another kind of reading, though, in which we at least attempt to glean something of value from the book in our hands (whether in paper or tablet form). In that instance, you might be surprised to learn that it’s not as simple as opening the book and reading the words. I believe that, it requires wisdom to acquire wisdom.

It’s a frightening time. We’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, with cities and even entire countries shut. Some of us are in areas that have already been affected by coronavirus. Others are bracing for what may come. And all of us are watching the headlines and wondering, “What is going to happen next?”                                                                                                   

All of us are going to need reassurance, advice, or a sympathetic ear during this difficult time. But be careful who you choose as a sounding board. The coronavirus is not the only thing that’s contagious. So are emotions! Avoid talking about the virus with people who tend to be negative or who reinforce and ramp up your fears. Turn to the people in your life who are thoughtful, level-headed, and good listeners. If you don’t have someone you trust to turn to, trust a book, it is here that books can act as saviours.

The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive global health crisis. Because the crisis requires large-scale behavioural change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences can be used to help align human behaviour with the recommendations of epidemiologists and public health experts. That gruesome time when the sun only pops round to see you off to work and leaves before you can cancel your dinner plans. It has always been a ghastly time. When the clocks go back on that insignificant day and the night crawls in much earlier, the woeful and dampening spirit takes hold.  Blues really aren’t so blue: grey is a much more apt color for the mood. This is where books levitate your soul raise your hope.

No tapping, no switching apps and no swiping – yet so engaging! This is the magic of books. Stress can be released or reduced in various ways such as going for a jog, listening to your favourite songs, and even by cooking and cleaning. But few people know that reading books can just be magical. Whenever you feel low, depressed or stressed, just open a book and let yourself lose free in the words. Stories and words particularly hold a great deal of power to read and heal the human mind.

When you read stories, you tend to relate to the traits of characters as your own or start looking for similarities between them and yourself. This makes you feel as if you are similar to a person who does not even exist. Despite the character’s non-existence, you still understand them and root every bit for them. This teaches the human emotion of empathy. When you meet people who are somewhat similar to the characters you have known through books, you start to understand them and empathise with them.

Reading helps to contain every anxiety-provoking thought in mind and has a soothing effect on the brain. As you move ahead in the story through characters, your thoughts and inhibitions travel with you. It’s true what people say – when you have a book, you have a friend. Reading reduces feelings of alienation and loneliness. A reduction in these traits can help treat many mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors and the most patient of teachers. Books have the power to transport us to new worlds and different times, but they can also take us back to the important moments in our own lives.

Thus its important to understand the concept of tradeoff, whereupon you can make a wise exchange between stress on one side and relief on another. For this nothing is a better way out than a book. As already stated that it requires wisdom to acquire wisdom.

Author can be reached at: <aaniqa125@gmail.com

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