My ‘temporary’ exit route from my bad days tends to be reading. There’s something liberating about getting lost in a good book. But, I equally recognise that when we do feel at our lowest it can be hard to give our attention to anything. My tip would be to get a book that hooks you in the first few pages. It also doesn’t necessarily have to be a typical ‘feel good’ book. My choice of books have gone from Rhonda Byrne to Stephen King.
My second tip, is that it’s fine to have more than one book on the go. My fluctuating moods tend to see me dipping and diving into different books at different times. There’s lots of pressure when you get into reading to finish your book; there should never be any rules with reading, except it should be for pleasure.
So why am I focusing on this for my second blog? Quite simply it’s one small thing you can do daily to start to take back some of your power. Our minds are tiring! Think about it…even when asleep we never truly switch off. You may even tend to find your worries of the day pouring into your dream realm.
Reading even for small intervals, provides small opportunities of rest bite from your mind.
Once you are absorbed into a book, you will find without even thinking about it, you will enter a mediative state. You’re heart rate lowers, your body relaxes and all external distractions melt away. So, what if you’re not a reader? Well I wasn’t. Up until the last few years, I don’t think I picked up a book since secondary school. Now at the age of 29, it shows how much of a reluctant reader I was and to a certain extent still am. I started to break the chain by doing what most avid readers would think unforgivable- watching the films first! Yes, watch a film, if you like it then buy the book. Why? Well like I mentioned you have no inner power when you’re at your lowest, so you have to set yourself up for success. By picking up a book you are already, in a way, familiar with, you will need far less energy to get into it.
There is so much research out there on the benefits of reading- I won’t bore you with it-you can find it out in your own time. But I will say as a Year 6 primary school teacher, I now know that reading greatly increases your chances of successfully passing your maths and science GCSEs. Isn’t that a power in itself? There are so many benefits, but how does it help you restore your power. The best way I can describe it is like leaving a tap on to drip slowly in a plugged sink. Remember yesterday I said that there are no quick fixes; with small bursts of reading you allow yourself to quieten your ego. Reading quite simply quietens your mind. Even if you can only mange this for 5 minutes to start, I know during my low days those 5 minutes of rest from myself are nuggets of gold.
If you were interested in the research behind reading, you can start here: https://www.gl-assessment.co.uk/news-hub/press-releases/new-study-highlights-the-importance-of-reading-to-the-whole-school-curriculum/
Picking up a book is something you have chosen to do. You have effectively said to yourself, ‘this is time for me to switch off’. You’ll be amazed what an effect this new habit can have on your energy reservoir in a few weeks. It’s something you have control over and reading is giving yourself a good dose of self-love. Think of it as a hug with words.
– Reading is to the brain what fuel is to a car
– Watch the film first before you buy the book, to free up brain power.
– You don’t have to stick to one book, it’s ok to dive in and out of different books throughout the week.
– They don’t have to be ‘feel good’ books. Nothing wrong with a Stephen King horror.
-Small intervals of reading are just as powerful.