31 Jan Reading Benefits your Mental Health
I have always been introverted, and ever since my young age, I’ve had trouble talking to people and making friends. I’ve never bothered to socialize, and I doubt that I’m the only one. Since I had no friends to go out and play with, I got into reading around the second grade, that’s when I picked up the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. My 6-year-old mind was suddenly flooded with ideas and possibilities, and with the promise of new worlds to discover.
Reading provides an out-of-body experience that is so surreal, it’s difficult to put into words. By connecting with characters in a book, and with worlds that essentially act as real-life scenarios, reading gives you a greater sense of human empathy, thus resulting in stronger relationships and shared understandings. This worked so well for me, as an anti-social tween, I slowly got out of my comfort zone and bonded with people. But reading isn’t just for people who are more introverted, especially considering the current circumstances we are living in.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been keeping everyone inside for almost 2 years now. In this time, I made 2 very close friends. One of them is extremely extroverted and was insanely bored at home. Her grades were also dropping, especially in English, and she was feeling immensely anxious and worried about her scores dipping. I suggested a few books for her to read, not only to build her vocabulary but to take her mind off of her impending exams. Her scores jumped up from 60 to 80 percent, and she started feeling a lot better just after a few days of reading. Reading keeps your mind active, and your brain strengthens in doing so. Reading pushes you to escape reality, escaping your current circumstances and anxious thoughts with it, keeping you occupied and benefiting your mental health and acuity at the same time.
Reading for a small amount time of even just 6 minutes a day improves sleep quality, reduces stress, and increases mental perceptiveness. The activity of reading itself has been found to reduce stress up to 68%. Reading is an activity that works your brain without active physical stimulation because you can read while lying down. It slowly relaxes your body and mind into falling asleep. It allows you to leave the presence of your reality and engage in something else. Reading can really help better your life, and I can personally vouch for these benefits, as I’ve seen the transformation with my own eyes, in friends and family members.
I study in Sharanya Narayani International school which is one of the best IB schools in Bangalore and one of top international day and boarding schools in India. I’m proud to say that we have a well-equipped and very functional library that caters to our every need, be it entertainment or research. Not only do we have a great library, my school places emphasis upon having students take on independent reading and develop a love for books. In the quest to build capable readers, we have reading and book clubs, we celebrate ‘World Book Day’, and we are even encouraged to maintain Reading logs to log our daily reads. Creating ravenous, lifelong readers doesn’t just happen … it takes a school-wide culture to help reach that goal, and that’s what SNIS has been striving to do.
So, I implore you, reader, don’t stop reading! Pick up a book that interests you, it doesn’t matter if it’s a fantasy book about saving the world, a science-fiction about killer robots, or even an autobiography. I can give you my word that things will start looking up soon, either in your own universe or in the other world you are now a part of!
Jiya Mitul Zaveri
SNIS Grade 8 student