Maybe you’re someone who always has your head in a book or perhaps you used to enjoy reading but have fallen out of the habit, or maybe you just don’t enjoy reading and have never been hooked. Whichever group you fall into, it’s never too late to start and the good news is that being a bookworm not only exercises your brain, but it can have massive health benefits too. In fact there is even a name for books as therapy – bibliotherapy. Which is why we are setting up a book corner for our residents at CENS.
Here are 5 great health reasons to practice bibliotherapy:
1. Reduce stress levels
After just 30 minutes of reading, you can effectively reduce your stress levels, which can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate. It doesn’t just have to be fiction, although we all love a good romance, it can be a biography or a factual book on a topic you are passionate about. Whether it’s escapism or just swotting up and become embroiled in the history of tractors, any distraction from the stresses of everyday life can lift your mood and help fight depression
2. Emotional growth
As we read, we mimic the actual experiences we are taking in, and we get all the benefits of the character’s emotional growth and their ability to problem solve without having to experience it ourselves. It also helps us empathise and understand the feelings of others. The great thing is that this connectivity lasts long after we close the cover.
3. Improve brain connectivity
The brain needs exercising just like any other part of the body and reading is like a full-on kickboxing session for the brain. Our brain function and memory decline as we age, but reading regularly slows this down and keeps our brain fit and sharp.
4. Sleep more soundly
We are not talking about reading something so dull that you drop off, but adding a spot of reading into your nightly bedtime routine can signal to your body that it needs to relax and wind down. Try and read a good old-fashioned paperback though as anything electronic like an iPad or an e-reader can actually stimulate your senses more!
5. Help yourself
There are a vast array of self-help books out there these days, so it is easier than ever to read a book which can help you manage symptoms of depression and teach yourself coping strategies. Fictional books too can engage us in such a way that we can learn from the experiences of the characters and situations they are in.
So go on, pick up a book and see where it takes you – you might even become hooked. Here are our 5 recommendations on books you might want to read all about homelessness:
- Best Children’s Book – The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q Rauf. A story about homelessness and bullying. Thought-provoking and packed with humour and tackling the tragedy of homelessness alongside the power of random acts of kindness.
- Best Uplifting Book – Do Something For Nothing by Joshua Coombes. True story about a hairdresser building relationships and profiling the issue of rough sleeping, leading to the ‘Do Something For Nothing’ movement.
- Best Thought-Provoking Book – No Fixed Abode, by Maeve McClenaghan. Real stories of struggle, loss, survival and courage which will change the way you think about homelessness.
- Best Investigative Book – All That Is Solid, by Danny Dorling. An agenda-shaping book looking at the UK’s housing crisis and how homelessness is directly related to inequality.
- Best Historical Fiction Book – The Silver Sword, by Ian Serraillier. A timely book following the story of 3 children during World War 2 and looking at how war and circumstances beyond our control can lead to homelessness on a massive scale.