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14 May

How Reading Can Help You Find Solace During Anxious Times

There is no point understating the effects that this global pandemic has had on our mental health—we’re all anxious, uncertain and overwhelmed. As someone who suffers from general anxiety for a majority of the time anyway, I’ve had to lean on a few techniques to help me navigate the discomfort of social distancing and isolation. However, none have worked as well for me as devouring a book from cover to cover and moving onto the next.  

My literary insatiability at the moment has shown me something important when it comes to finding solace in the stories of others and why allowing yourself to escape is vital for emotional survival. Here is how reading has helped me cope with an uncommon and incredibly stressful situation and how it can help you too 

It Signifies The Passing Of Time 

One of the hardest parts of having to stay home and social distance is recognizing that time—whether it might seem that way or not—is actually passing. Things are changing and will continue to change, despite how perpetual our situation might feel at the moment. Whether you’re stuck at home because of your mental health, a physical ailment, or because of something as unexpected as a country-wide quarantine, it’s important to remind yourself that there is something to look forward to. 

This is where books have served a major purpose in my life. Starting one and finishing it signifies the passing of time that many of us so desperately need to experience right now. Being able to close the cover or return it in your digital library app offers a sense of accomplishment and progression, that can make a world of difference to your daily experience.   

You Can Tap Into Someone Else’s Internal Dialogue For A Short While 

Getting stuck in your own self-sabotaging or scary internal dialogue is expected, especially during stressful times. Reading offers an escape from that in its most purest form—reading the internal dialogue of a character that might not be anything like you. Devoting some time throughout the day to dive into the motives and intentions of a fictional person offers a bit of perspective and a cathartic release, depending on the plot of the novel. While reading a few pages of a new book might seem trivial, knowing that you can leave reality for a little while can make dealing with anxious life moments just a bit easier.  

It Provides Human Connection Without You Ever Having To Leave Your Home 

With social distancing being the most prominent aspect of daily life for many of us at the moment, reading provides a supplement for the human interaction we so desperately crave right now. Whether you’re reading the latest newsletter from your favourite blog or burying yourself deep in the pages of a classic novel, you are forming a deep connection with someone simply through their words. These words can be comforting or harrowing, and everything in between. The point is that they will make you feel something that you’re most likely lacking while staying home and avoiding human interaction. With reading, you can fall in love, develop hatred, or even completely change your perception of a specific social issue, all without ever leaving your home. You can do this simply by devouring the words of someone else who might live thousands of miles away from you or, in many cases, might no longer even exist. What’s more uplifting than that? 

Katerina Eleftheriou
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