I read a book one day and my whole life was changed – Orhan Pamuk
Reading is a positive habit, no matter what you read- a Fiction book, a newspaper, an article, a non-fiction book, a self-help book, a spiritual book, a biography, or a comic – reading has many benefits.
Almost every successful person has a habit of reading and it is also a powerful weapon in your Fight Against Depression.
But HOW? Lets Find out:)
Benefits of Reading
When you read, you stimulate your brain and make it active. Also, reading requires constant effort from your side which is absent from video watching or listening and it keeps your brain occupied.
Keeping your Mind occupied or busy is very important in your fight against depression.
In depression, a person either keeps his/her mind inactive or occupied with negative thoughts but when you read a positive book, you fill your mind with positive content which further generates positive energy.
According to Ken Pugh, president of Haskins Laboratories:
“Parts of the brain that have evolved for other functions — such as vision, language, and associative learning — connect in a specific neural circuit for reading, which is very challenging.“
When you read, you shift your focus from the stress of your work or life to the magical world of the book you are reading. It greatly reduces your stress levels.
Also, a 2012 study by the University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. This is a great number. Isn’t it?
A person in depression takes a lot of stress (most of the times) and reading is one of the most powerful stress busters.
Gain in Knowledge
No matter which type of book or article you read, you gain knowledge when you imbibe words through reading. This knowledge would come handy in your life and also in your fight against depression.
Knowledge never goes to waste; More knowledge you acquire, more capable you become to talk about various topics.
It makes you feel that you are a knowledgeable person, which is a positive feeling. Isn’t it?
This is a no brainer. When you read, you encounter different words, its synonyms and antonyms, different ways in which these words can be used and it helps in the expansion of your vocabulary.
The more your vocabulary improves, the better you can express your own thoughts and feelings.
The better you can express yourself, the better you can put down the reasons behind your depression which can come handy in your depression evaluation.
It is proven that a person who reads everyday has a better memory than a person who read less or doesn’t read at all. Now why so?
Thing is when you read any type of book, you have to remember certain things like while reading a fiction book you have to remember the characters, their background, their role in a plot, as well as various sub-plots that make up the story and all this, improves your memory.
Decrease in memory is one of the problems that a person in depression faces, so reading can help you with solving this problem.
Analytical Thinking Skills
Your Analytical Skills also improve when you read and they can also help you in tackling your depression in a more effective way.
Mystery or thriller books helps you in increasing your critical and analytical skills.
Improves Mental Health
Reading not only helps in fighting depression but also in improving you mental health.
Research has found that people who keep their brains active by reading or playing mentally challenging games such as chess are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who spend their low time on less stimulating activities.
Also, According to a UK study, readers are “21 percent less likely to experience feelings of depression.”
So, reading is Awesome.
Improved Focus and Concentration
Loss of Focus and Concentration is one of the major problems that a depressive person faces and reading can gradually improve your Focus and Concentration.
When you read, you have to concentrate. You can’t read effectively without being focused.
Better Writing Skills
Readers are better writers, you could have heard that and it is completely true. Writers read a lot and what happens is that when you read, you are consuming that author writing style and that style will also influence your writing style.
Also, Daily writing is one of the very effective
A person in Depression faces lots of Sleeping problems but one effective way to sleep is by reading. Just lay on your bed, Dim the lights and start reading. After 20 -30 minutes, you will start feeling drowsy and you will fall asleep.
Another thing you can do here is to read your school or college textbooks as many students(I’m one of them) start yawning or feeling sleepy when they read their textbooks, so it can be effective in giving you a sound sleep during your depression.
In depression, we hardly feel entertained but there are many entertaining and comedy books available in the market which you can use to provide you with some kind of Entertainment.
Many Fiction books shift your focus from your depression to the magical and entertaining world of their characters.
Scientists have found that the person who read Fiction Books or Biographies is more empathetic than those who don’t read them and the reason is that, while reading Fiction books, you get connected with the characters and you start feeling like this character is as alive in real life, as it is in the book.
Harry Potter, Cinderella, Batman, Ironman, Game of Thrones’ Characters, Winnie the Pooh, Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, James Bond, Tarzan are some of the examples of the characters who are as real in a real life, as they are in their respective books.
Now, who bring these characters alive? The readers who read them.
Reading fiction books or Biographies also make you understand the life of other people who live in other countries or in ancient times. Books on life of a lesbian or a gay or an immigrant help you in understanding their life and struggles.
Reading Biographies make you understand that the problems you have faced or are facing are nothing as compared to the problems that other people face and still achieve awesome things in his/her life.
Better Speaking Skills
In Depression, a person feels the reluctance to talk, he/she avoid any kind of social connect but when you read, you consume lots of information and feel compelled to share this knowledge with your loved ones.
Now, it is not necessary that every person will share knowledge after reading a particular book but chances are high as compared to when you don’t read.
Also, Reading gives you lot of information which you can use to have better conversations with your loved ones.
Reading not only decreases stress levels but also brings you an immense amount of inner peace and tranquillity.
Reading spiritual texts lower blood pressure; Self-help books can assist people in dealing with mood disorders. Reading Biographies can change your life and so on.
Whatever positive inner state you’re seeking to attain, there’s likely a book that will help you in reaching that state.
Happiness is a feeling and it comes from inside.
Now, Reading makes you more knowledgeable, it reduces stress levels, makes you calm,
It is helpful in defeating depression.
These are enough reasons to bring Happiness inside you:)
So, Now You know about the 15 Benefits of Reading and also the reason that Why reading is so powerful in your fight against depression. Now,
Why Reading is Better than Watching a Video?
When you watch a video, you just click the play button and video starts, you don’t need much effort after that. I agree that you need
Either you read and keep yourself occupied or you don’t read, there is no third option here but in video watching, you require less effort and it is also more distracting than reading a book.
Also, Reading a book is more difficult than watching a video but remember anything worthy is not easy, just like defeating
What if Reading is not my Habit?
Now, when I was in depression, reading is not my habit. I only used to read my School/College textbooks so it was a difficult task for me to make reading my habit but I knew one thing:
“Where there is a Will, there is a Way“
I knew that it takes at least 21 days to make a habit, so I start small. The first day, I read for 10 minutes, then the next day I read for 20 minutes, and by each passing day my reading speed and time keep on increasing.
One important thing is that I was consistent. I read for a complete 30 days without missing any day and after 30 days, Reading a book or an article was not as haunting and boring for me as it was used to be.
I start reading in my depression days and today I read for at least 1 hour each day.
So, if reading is not your habit then start small and keep on increasing your reading time with each passing day but be consistent.
Magic will not happen in 5 days , you have to be consistent for at least 21 days.
Another thing you can use here is to read books, comics, or articles on topics which you like. I like topics such as psychology, philosophy, and Video games. So, I start my reading journey by reading articles or books on these topics.
Things to keep in mind while Reading
-Read for 25 min and then take a break of 5 min.
-Don’t read negative, or horror material when you are in depression.
-Don’t read such material which reminds you about your depression like don’t read love stories if your cause of depression is a breakup.
How to Read a Book Effectively?
If you are an avid reader then reading a complete book is not a tough task for you but what if you are a starter. Then you need an effective strategy.
-Set a target of completing the book in 5 days.
-Read 50 pages per day with reading speed of 5 pages and then taking a break of 5 minutes.
-In this way you will complete your book in 5 days.
-If 50 pages is a big target for you then have a target of reading 25 pages.
-By reading 25 pages per day, you will complete the book in 10 days.
Can’t I listen to Audiobooks?
Audiobooks are a great option but here our aim is reading not listening. So, Audiobook is a great addition to your daily routine in addition to reading but it is not an alternative to reading. Reading is Reading, nothing can take its place.