Let’s Talk Bookish: How Reading Affects Mental Health

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is How Reading Affects Mental Health.

In what ways does reading affect your mental health? Does it affect your mental health positively or negatively at certain times, and why?

I don’t think reading affects my mental health exactly, but it has nearly always had a positive effect on my mood, especially considering everything that has been going on this past year. Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and reading serves as entertainment, relaxation and even an escape from reality when I need it. No day truly feels complete until I’ve gone through a few chapters of my latest read and it’s my favourite way to unwind after a long day of work. Of course, when I read something like a historical fiction novel set during times in history that were very hard like the wars, I do feel a little sad, but it never lasts too long. Even so, it’s very rare for me to be really upset due to a book I read. A hectic ARC review schedule can stress me out at times, but I’ve taken to being more careful with how many I request this year.

How do you find a balance to keep up with reading while being mindful of your mental health?

I read because it makes me happy and I find it relaxing. This is the exact reason why I don’t try too hard to keep up with trends or pick up hyped books – even if they’re being lauded for great story, representation, diversity etc. It might be an amazing book – but if the synopsis doesn’t appeal to me, I won’t force myself to pick it up. I choose my books very carefully to make sure that as far as possible, they don’t venture into any topics that I’m uncomfortable with. I’m also a huge mood reader, so I keep a variety of genres on my immediate TBR at all times so that I have an alternate to turn to. Staying organized also helps me stay stress-free, but the main thing I’ve learned in this aspect, especially ever since I started blogging, is to never force myself to read when i don’t feel like it.

Do triggers, bookish controversies, and things like that affect your health a lot more than you let on?

Bookish controversies don’t affect me much. I see them on social media, and I do try to stay up to date, but I don’t tend to linger on them much and at all costs avoid getting involved in any drama. As for triggers, I’ve yet to come across anything that would majorly affect me personally, though I do appreciate content warnings so I have an idea of what to expect and avoid if necessary.

How do you think reading affects mental health? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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