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May 20, 2022, 06:53:49 am

Author Topic: Reading as therapy  (Read 3686 times)

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elysepopplewell

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Reading as therapy
« on: May 25, 2017, 02:22:33 am »
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I've just stumbled across this article by the Guardian that talks about reading as a form of therapy.

It was found in 2009 by the University of Sussex that reading can reduce your stress levels by 68%.

The article says, "One of the greatest arguments for using literature as therapy was posited by the Renaissance essayist Michel de Montaigne, who believed there were three possible cures for loneliness: have a lover, have friends and read books. But he argued sexual pleasure is too fleeting and betrayal too common, and while friendship was better it always ended with death. Therefore, the only therapy that could endure through life was the companionship of literature."

It also proposes that reading makes you more empathetic, because you've lived a million lives through literature and have a broader understanding of the way circumstances can turn to a head.

So, do you think this makes sense? Do you have a book that will always make you feel more at ease? Have you become more sympathetic to certain ideas/situations after reading?
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peterpiper

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Re: Reading as therapy
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2017, 04:30:43 am »
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It also proposes that reading makes you more empathetic, because you've lived a million lives through literature and have a broader understanding of the way circumstances can turn to a head.

So, do you think this makes sense? Do you have a book that will always make you feel more at ease? Have you become more sympathetic to certain ideas/situations after reading?

Yes, yes, yes and yes.

For me, good pieces of literature educate and enlarge your sympathies, or your capacity for compassion; really great ones make you cry -- they move you. Life is too haphazard and unreliable a mentor and I really think people ought to read more, as it gives us a period to reflect and depart from all that hubbub. I believe we become really narrow as we kind of go through life; we face hardships, we learn to deal with them; but in reading, all those habits we've become so accustomed to accepting as fact, just become obliterated. Reading is merciless in that sense. But it also gives you unbelievable strength and substance to the things you do when it finds access to your heart. Of course, one of the really great bonuses with reading is insatiable curiosity, and a lifetime of it.

I always thought reading in itself was more an academic pursuit for disassembly at school; and it wasn't until Year 11 that I discovered it was so much more than that. It was life, but not of the carbon kind we're so used to :-)

But I will also argue, that fiction is no absolutely perfect substitute for a carbon-based, oxygen-breathing friend *controversial* haha. I like to think of reading as kind of complementary to the life we live. For some, reading has always been an avenue for escape; but in my experience, I'm always there, as a reader, and the world of fiction doesn't necessarily try to hide that - at least for me. I'm just trying out different filters and lenses. I suppose this is because I got into reading later in my life that I view it this way. Would love to hear some other's thoughts on this, because weirdly I'm so passionate about talking about reading that I would neglect reading just thinking about it and what it means to me lmao. Words just give me so much feelings (whispers)*feelingggsss**
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JD99

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Re: Reading as therapy
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2017, 06:06:58 am »
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I've read all through my life (I don't remember reading to learn...and i'm not v old).
Quote
I like to think of reading as kind of complementary to the life we live.
I think reading is definitely complimentary to friends, and complimentary to life. You get to certain phases in life, and you read certain books that help you see another perspective on life. In this way books, to me, are some sort of a guide, they kind of give you 'life experience' that you would never get any other way.

heids

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Re: Reading as therapy
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2017, 12:35:49 pm »
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I've been the kid that couldn't get my nose out of a book, fiction or non-fiction, from age 5. :P  I had to actively limit it to an hour a day because I was 'wasting too much time' reading hahaha.

Empathy is walking in someone else's shoes and that's what fiction is: experience and responding to life in inside someone else. You can begin to understand the mindset of the murderer, the quadriplegic, the suicidal, the refugee, the billionaire, the homeless, the compassionate, the psychopath, the fundamentalist, the transsexual, the chronically ill - and that changes your feelings and behaviour towards others.

If, say, a wheelchair-bound character in a book you're reading mentions how annoying it is when people say X or treat them like Y - you think about how to change your behaviour towards those in wheelchairs because it never occurred to you how they'd feel about it before.

I love the way you absorb a new idea or way of seeing things and you can't unlearn it.  Your perspective has simply... broadened. You've put in another puzzle piece to your picture of life.

But Dumbledore and Charlie (Perks of Being a Wallflower) both whispered in my ear that it doesn't do to dwell on reading and watching and forget to participate in life. :P You actually have to live what you're reading...
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Calebark

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Re: Reading as therapy
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2017, 01:39:05 pm »
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Most definitely.

Reading to me feels akin to socialising. I feel connected to other people, even if said people are not even real. Now, I'm not saying reading is a substitute for socialising -- not at all. But it allows you to live a similar experience; to learn new things and, if reading at the right moment, for the characters to help you solve your problems (if in a similar situation).

I've been struggling with depression for years, and it was only recently that I started reading as a hobby again, and I can say that it has been helping, even if it's just that I need a good distraction for a few hundred pages.

Edit
A pertinent quote from my favourite series
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one.

« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 01:46:35 pm by Calebark »
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Re: Reading as therapy
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2017, 01:53:10 pm »
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Definitely!
I grew up reading books and I find them my most effective method of stress relief. :)
If I had the time, I'd sit on my bed  (because that's my prime reading spot) and read all day, everyday. I find that reading- fiction or non-fiction usually provokes thought and/or my imagination and I'd absorb so much from just reading what was in front of me.
Books can also be inspirational/motivational- one of my favourite book series repeats something that motivates me (even though I have no reasons why it does)- "this is tough, but cherubs are tougher".

Tl:dr- books can be what you make them and I really love books haha
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elysepopplewell

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Re: Reading as therapy
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2017, 06:32:01 pm »
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I'm very lucky because when I was younger my dad used to read to me every night. For me it was Roald Dahl, but for my sister it was Enid Blyton. I don't know how well this worked as therapy when I was younger, so to say, because I was between 4-8. But I definitely think it gave a great scope to my empathy from a young age and it definitely sparked my imagination.

Yes, yes, yes and yes.

For me, good pieces of literature educate and enlarge your sympathies, or your capacity for compassion; really great ones make you cry -- they move you. Life is too haphazard and unreliable a mentor and I really think people ought to read more, as it gives us a period to reflect and depart from all that hubbub. I believe we become really narrow as we kind of go through life; we face hardships, we learn to deal with them; but in reading, all those habits we've become so accustomed to accepting as fact, just become obliterated. Reading is merciless in that sense. But it also gives you unbelievable strength and substance to the things you do when it finds access to your heart. Of course, one of the really great bonuses with reading is insatiable curiosity, and a lifetime of it.

I always thought reading in itself was more an academic pursuit for disassembly at school; and it wasn't until Year 11 that I discovered it was so much more than that. It was life, but not of the carbon kind we're so used to :-)

But I will also argue, that fiction is no absolutely perfect substitute for a carbon-based, oxygen-breathing friend *controversial* haha. I like to think of reading as kind of complementary to the life we live. For some, reading has always been an avenue for escape; but in my experience, I'm always there, as a reader, and the world of fiction doesn't necessarily try to hide that - at least for me. I'm just trying out different filters and lenses. I suppose this is because I got into reading later in my life that I view it this way. Would love to hear some other's thoughts on this, because weirdly I'm so passionate about talking about reading that I would neglect reading just thinking about it and what it means to me lmao. Words just give me so much feelings (whispers)*feelingggsss**

I know what you're saying. I think that books can give you sooooo much - and I suppose you can give back to a book my passing it on to someone else to share the story. But, a book can't give you tailored assistance to your very own situation. For me, going to my friends is usually because I'm having a small crisis and I'm not sure what to do. But the BEST advice I have been given doesn't usually come from my friends, but older people I know or meet. Nana is likely to give me some banging advice...but is that because she reads a novel per day?
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