This year will certainly be one that goes down in history as one of the toughest; not just here in the United States, but in the World. A global pandemic. Months upon months of quarantine. Mass job losses and business closures. Recession. Racial tensions. National divide. Add distance learning with your kids to that list and you have got to be ready for an escape!
With recommendations that we still try to stay home as much as possible, people are finding all sorts of ways to pass the time. Picking up a book is an excellent way to liberate ourselves from the chaotic day-to-day and become engrossed in an alternate reality - even for just a little bit. What’s more, reading has actually been proven to come with a number of health benefits that may make the current reality slightly more tolerable.
According to Simply Psychology, “Theory of Mind is the ability to attribute mental states ⎯ beliefs, intents, desires, emotions, and knowledge ⎯ to ourselves and others.” Studies show that reading fiction books helps readers to build the skills necessary for creating and maintaining social relationships and to understand the feelings of others.
If you’re an avid reader, you already know that reading can reduce stress levels - and that’s likely one of the main reasons you love to read. It truly is an escape. It was proven in 2009 that reading decreases feelings of psychological distress just as much as laughter and exercise.
Understandably, the current times are likely causing depression to rear its ugly head for a lot of people. Reading can be a wonderful coping mechanism. Fiction books allow you to escape and delight yourself in the imaginary lives and experiences in the story. If you’re looking into other ways to cope, non-fiction self-help books may lend a helping hand through difficult times.
Builds Cognitive Strength
Not only does reading keep your brain active; it actually strengthens it. The proof lies in brain scans from a study conducted in 2013 that concluded reading increases brain connectivity, both while reading and in the days following. Over time, the complex networks your brain uses to read gets stronger.
In times of uncertainty and distress, it is imperative to find healthy ways of coping with everything going on and ensure you are taking time to disconnect for a while. Reading, as we've discussed, can be such a beneficial tool for the mind - and so enjoyable at that! So if you're looking for ways to escape the madness, grab a book and allow yourself to get lost for a bit.
Not sure what to read? Check out The Vineyard Collection by Katie Melko.