As someone who suffers from general anxiety the majority of the time, I’ve had to lean on a few techniques to help me navigate the discomfort of the weirdest year and 7 months of our lives.
However, none have worked as well for me as devouring a book from cover to cover and immediately moving onto the next one.
My literary insatiability 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, and how it can help you too.
Things are changing and will continue to change, despite how perpetual your situation might feel at the moment. Whether you’re struggling 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 always 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. 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.
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 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 moments just a bit easier.
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. 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?