There are a lot of different things that we can do in our daily lives to cope with our mental illness or help us stop the development of one. We can engage in various activities that can help improve our brain functions, our thought processes, and our emotional state.
It is not just dependent on medication or seeking therapy with a professional, they don’t have to be with other people or outside the comfort of your home. You can do many things, on your own, in your home, and you can feel all the better for it.
As we said, there are numerous things we can do, but today we want to focus on one thing in particular: reading.
It’s one of the oldest forms of entertainment, it is something that we have done for our entire lives, and it is incredibly beneficial for all of us to engage in, not just those of us struggling with a mental illness. We know that for some of us, reading just isn’t engaging enough or you struggle with it.
If this is true, then that is okay, but we do encourage you to give it a shot every now and then. All it can take is the right book to completely change your mind about it.
Regardless, for those of us who are looking to engage in more reading, we can find so many health benefits in doing so.
Words and the Brain
Reading can increase our ability to empathize with others. Mirror neurons, which are fired in your brain when we see ourselves perform an action or see someone else perform an action, can increase when we read.
As we see the characters of the book performing certain actions in our mind, we are more likely to keep those actions in mind and become more empathetic for others in our lives. Empathy is a large part of living a healthy life and promoting emotional well-being.
Feeling empathy for others can help us cope with many of life’s difficulties and help us feel less alone by building connections and relationships.
Reading will help build mental flexibility, or our ability to change and adapt our thoughts. Reading can allow us to think and rethink on important issues, let us find different ways to evolve our ways of thinking and reconsider our past behaviors.
It is an important kind of self-reflection and is one that can help us improve the kind of people that we are. As we increase this flexibility, we can find that we are more creative or rational.
Studies have shown that readers who engage with fictional stories are more likely to accept less closure, and ambiguity is more commonly linked with creativity. It helps us to be more accepting of different situations and allow things to not necessarily find closure, helping us move past things that would otherwise keep us preoccupied.
Reading enhances our brain connectivity and causes our brain to function and behave at a heightened level. This has many benefits, especially allowing our brains to take on more complex thought and processes.
It increases our ability to focus and process certain thoughts, process certain emotions, and allow us to partake in healthier mental behavior.
A Stimulated Brain is a Healthy Brain
Finally, reading can help stave off dementia. Because reading is such a mentally stimulating activity, it helps our brain perform at a high level and remain healthy.
Mental conditions like dementia, or even Alzheimer’s, can be delayed and, in some cases, avoided by reading frequently, as little as 20 pages per day. Reading is essentially a mental exercise, stimulating and working out our brain, and the more you do it, the more “in shape” it can be.
Reading is just one example of something we can all take part in on a daily basis to help our mental health. It can give us a better way of thinking, a better sense of empathy, more ways to engage with our own thoughts, the ability to reconsider our ideas, and minimize the possibility of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
There are so many different reasons why you should try to engage in reading frequently, but at the end of the day, it can provide you with a good escape. When you are feeling anxious, or depressed, or like you are on the verge of something, picking up a book and getting lost in it can help calm your body down.
You can relax and let the symptoms pass, feeling so much better when it’s over. Just by reading a little bit every day, we can see immediate health benefits and consequences in our behavior and thought patterns.
If it isn’t for you, that’s totally fine and there are plenty of other things to explore, but if it does click, you can discover whole worlds to lose yourself in and help make your brain healthy.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528.