The pandemic has certainly caused everyone a lot of distress. Distress refers to bad stress in psychology – any feeling of unpleasantness such as anxiety, suffering and unhappiness. Distress can often manifest as physical symptoms such as headaches, chest pain, upset stomachs and rises in blood pressure. However, the good news is that stress is entirely stoppable. Over the years, not a few attempts have been made to reduce stress – from meditation to exercise. One of the most foolproof ways, however, is to read. Books can Help Fight And Overcome Stress. Today, we will explore how reading can assuage feelings of Post Pandemic Stress.
Post Pandemic Stress | How Books Can Help Fight And Overcome Stress:
Serve as a distraction from bad news
Undoubtedly news is one of the biggest stressors of our times. From phone calls about the loss of near and dear ones to covid statistics on all news channels, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlpool of news. But sometimes, limiting your intake of news is the best thing you can do for your mental health. This isn’t always easy – especially not if it’s an act of compulsion for you. Stories, in this case, provide an easy way out. Pick up a good fiction novel and it will make you forget about the world!
Lower heart rate and ease muscle tension
A 2009 study at the University of Sussex revealed that reading can reduce stress by 68%. Reading is proven to relax the body and mind by lowering heart rate and reducing musle tension and also by distracting you. Apparently, this happens because the literary world that lures you in is free from the stresses that plague your actual life. However, it’s important to choose books that feel good
Increase emotional intelligence and empathy
Books help us recognize, manage and communicate our emotions better, that is they increase our emotional intelligence. Increase in empathy is probably one of the biggest benefits of reading books. As we immerse ourselves in the plot of the novel, we lose our identity and take up another’s. We feel what our protagonist is feeling – happiness, sorrow, anger or whatever else. In the process, we let go of the mental chatter within and around us and learn to see the world from the perspective of another. And empathy is a much needed virtue in the modern context, especially during the pandemic.
Act as an escape mechanism
Reading is the ultimate act of escapism – you choose the oceans you want to drown in. Books will keep you engrossed in themselves for hours and hours. You wont think about anything else at all. It serves as an effective coping strategy to deal with the stress around you. Books are the best places to seek comfort. Because you can become a part of someone else’s story and life and character through books, you can momentarily forget your own. This momentary forgetting gives you an opportunity to let your body respond naturally to stresses without you overthinking.
Are a great way to pass time
Books are undoubtedly the best companions for solitude. In fact, they’re a form of collective solitude – where you can be alone, but with someone else. Reading an edge-of-the-seat thriller, for example, may make you turn page after page until you’ve devoured the whole book. A literary fiction novel, perhaps, may make you reflect on topics you haven’t previously considered. A wholesome romance, on the other hand, may make you want to read it page by page, savouring and delighting in every word. The point is, any book of any genre, will help you pass your time in a way that is both productive and entertaining. And when you pass time in such a manner like reading, there will be lesser time to think about the pandemic and its blues. In fact, your thoughts will be elevated.
Help break creative blocks
The greatest authors are often the best readers. By nature, writing and reading go hand in hand. So if you’re feeling like you’re stuck in a rut, faced by the monstrous writing block, read extensively. Books will give you much needed inspiration for both content and writing style. Even if you don’t write, it’s quite likely that reading will aspire you to create other forms of art. And art is one of the best ways to beat pandemic blues. It gives personal fulfilment and takes mind off stressful events.
Reading definitely releases happy hormones, whether it’s because your otp ship gets together or cause the beauty of the writing moves you. In any case, reading is an enriching experience. Studies have shown that reading helps with depression and other mental health issues by making the reader feel positive and elated.
Are an innovative way to practice mindfulness
When you think of mindfulness, it’s easy to think of meditating and grounding. But reading is also a kind of mindfulness if done right, and provides the same benefits such as relaxation and peace of mind. Mindfulness is an activity where you focus your attention and awareness on the present moment, withholding judgement of any form. Reading offers an excellent opportunity to be present and mindful. When you feel the pages of a book, inhale the scent of the spine and focus all your attention on the line you’re reading, it’s essentially act of mindfulness.