Reading and Impact on My Mental Wellness — A Message to Anyone Starting Out in Work
I’ve always read in my life.
During school it’s part of the deal but outside of that, I’d always be reading someone’s biography or some sort of business book. At Uni I guess we’re always reading some sort of research document, paper or textbook, so in a sense I was reading then too. But between Uni and working, the reading stopped. I guess like anything, we all just get really busy. If you’ve read my article about how I adapted to working life, you will realise I didn’t really have much time for anything. It was pretty much get up go work, come back fall asleep. Repeat. Until the weekend where I’d just sleep for the whole thing.
Since then, I’ve gotten a little better at life and managed to get back into reading.
For the past year and a bit I’ve really gotten into reading, like actually. Now for someone that struggles to stop thinking about five hundred and forty three different things a minute, sitting and reading was initially a bit of challenge to get back into. I’d sit and read for half an hour I felt like it was a waste of time or I would feel that I would learn more watching a video. But I stuck with it and it’s really had some wonderful outcomes.
Focus. Taking the time to read the words on a page is a simple activity but one that really focuses your mind. You quite literally have to focus on every word because otherwise you won’t know what on earth the book is on about. Doing so is a form of meditation in way. It means you’re almost not allowed to think of anything else except the words you are reading. For twenty, thirty, forty minutes you are absorbed into the words on the page instead of the thoughts in your head.
Patience. Reading words on a page isn’t the fastest way to consume content. Hence the rise of YouTube / Podcasts. It’s not the quickest and definitely not the most efficient, it’s pretty hard to multi-task whilst reading. Trust me. Because of that very fact it means that you have to sit in a quiet corner and focus. Line by line, word by word, page by page. In today’s world, it’s not often that we sit and just focus. Our lives are consumed by modern technology, social media, fast paced… everything. Being able to sit and just be all-consumed by something as simple as some words, on some paper has a wonderful way of putting things in perspective.
Relaxation. Spending forty minutes focusing on something other than the daily stresses of life gives you time to switch off. It gives you time to not overwhelm yourself and be somewhere else for a while. What it means is when you return to the real world you’ll feel less overwhelmed and less worrisome than before. You might, if you are lucky, have forgotten about what you were worrying about before you picked up the book.
Better mental clarity. I find myself being able to focus better, slowing down more and not sweating the small stuff as much since starting reading more frequently and consistently. I find it’s easier to shift myself (or nudge) myself out of getting overwhelmed. Which of course, in this day and age, is nothing but a good thing.
In general, reading seems to have a real impact on my mental wellness and is one of those habits that I find is almost meditative. Reading a good book, is there really anything better?