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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Carter

How Reading Can Help Your Mental Health

Updated: Mar 3, 2022

There is something relaxing about simply holding a book and realizing the portal to another world lies within its pages. When I was a youth and unable to physically leave behind my abusive family, I would escape into a book and discover what other families looked like.

I realized that I could create my own world and life when I became an adult, and overall I am happy with the life I am now living. My life is not perfect, just as the lives I visited in books were not perfect, but I have the opportunity in each moment to choose better. I get to re-write my narrative just as I would while falling to sleep after finishing a book.

I discovered some things that made me a lifelong book reader:

  • New relationships

  • Different cultures

  • New viewpoints

  • Creatures that don't exist

  • Magic

  • How to help myself

  • Healing from trauma

  • How to quiet my mind

  • Escape

  • Learning about topics I choose

  • Increased reading level

  • Better memory

  • Science changes

  • Learning morals

  • Deepening my values

What types of books do I read?

I try to read a self help and nonfiction (educational) book once a month and finish a fiction book every two weeks. I tend to take longer on self help books and nonfiction books because I want time to process, question and research what I am reading. I get lost in fiction books, so I finish those faster.

I pick a new topic for my monthly reads based off recommendations or what I feel I need to learn to better myself. I will read almost anything with dragons and a lot of magic books. I discovered historical fiction books a couple of years ago and find myself going back for more.

Is reading the same as listening?

Data suggests different parts of the brain are activated when reading compared to listening to audiobooks. The real difference is if and when reading vs listening is better for you. You are the best judge of your time and comprehension.

I have times when reading is better and listening is better. It depends on the content and my schedule. I also spend my mental health time listening to podcasts. Here are ones we recommend.

Do you have mental health book recommendations?

We sure do, the link to find them is here. We also have book club recommendations, you can find them here.

If you need counseling, contact 1-800-662-HELP⁠ or look for resources here.

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