How to Improve Your Mental Health By Reading a Book
Mental health is at the core of everything we do. It determines how we react and respond to things, how we build and maintain relationships, why we pursue or ignore opportunities, etc. The “healthier” we are, the better quality of life we can build for ourselves. Most people assume that we have to plan endless self-care days, exercise 5x a week, or spend our last on a therapy session to improve our mental state. Did you know reading a book for 6 minutes would do just the trick?
Studies show reading reduces stress by 68%. While stress can lead to common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, a few minutes of reading time will decrease your chances of experiencing them. 6 mins, or 2-3 pages a day, is enough to bring your stress down to manageable levels. It will help you feel better faster than drinking a cup of hot tea or even taking a walk!
If you’re anything like me, a good cry is something you need at least once a month. I experience both anxiety and depression, and it’s a struggle to stay out of my head and reroute my thoughts. But I’m not alone! Women’s mental health continues to decline with 1 in 5 women experiencing common disorders vs 1 in 8 men. Instead of trying to ignore my struggles, I focus on finding ways to de-stress. I exercise 5x a week, read a chapter a day, and write as often as I can. Surprisingly, reading has proved to be the most helpful — even more helpful than running two miles! I’d like to think it’s because it requires my brain to be focused on one thing: the book.
Here’s How to Improve Your Mental Health With a Book:
Start With a Book From Your TBR List or Stack
There’s a reason you added those books to your “to be read” list or stack. There’s no greater feeling than starting a new title, especially one that you’ve been meaning to read for months! You’ll be a lot happier knowing that you can finally check it off your list.
Be Strict About Reading Time
Add “read 3 pages” to your to-do list and set “reading time” as a daily reminder in your phone. Eventually it’ll become a part of your routine. When it comes to improving your mental health, you’ll have to treat reading like eating: don’t go a day without doing it!
Be Consistent With Your Reading
If you want to keep your stress levels down, you’ll have to be consistent. Make a monthly reading log that includes the title of the book and the date/time you read it. You’ll get to see how consistent you’ve been and how many times you’ve read in a month! Remember, you only have to read 6 minutes each day.
If this is the first book you’ve read in a while, try not to DNF (Did Not Finish) it. Even if you aren’t in love with it, commit to finishing it. Make it an experiment: see what kind of reader you are, what you like/don’t like about reading, gauge your reading pace, etc. Once your experiment is over, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and you’ll have all the information you need to choose your next read.