Write2Camp in Europe

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Can Reading Make you Happier?

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I saw this title in The New Yorker, and was really curious about the article.  It was a bit too long for me, so I’ll just pick out one paragraph that I thought interesting.

“Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers. “Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines,” the author Jeanette Winterson has written. “What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination.”

Like so many others, I have been feeling a deep sadness concerning our current world affairs. I’m someone who actually enjoys giving ‘asked’ for advice, finding solutions, and fixing problems;  thus frustration  added to  my suffering. Volunteer work and donating can relieve some of that helplessness, but it can also overwhelm and exasperate  — especially when there is no end in sight.

We all need  time-outs to gather our thoughts, and ask ourselves what is it we want. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I’m depressed, really damn depressed, I thought.

But then my ‘fix-it-up’ personality shone through. I need a day to cleanse my thoughts, breathe and simply be grateful for all the good in my life. I got out of bed and decided to cleanse my thoughts and body of all toxic harmful substances. First thing I did was skip breakfast; no coffee — no nothing, just a glass of water. And then I set out for a walk. I took in the sunrise, and the glistening morning dew, I looked up at a black bird perched on a tree, staring back down at me. “Hi there! Top of the morning to you!” I said as he fluttered his wings and flew off. Today is soup day. I decided, and listed the ingredients, in my mind, to make a good hearty vegetable soup. And then I thought about which book I would like to read today. I needed something to still my ever churning thoughts, to calm my nerves, to please me, be good to me, and most of all allow me to escape into a better world. But what book could that be?

After my long walk, I looked through my rows of bookshelves. I do have a book to read in my Kindle, however it was too shallow too ‘wimpy’ . It wasn’t the right thing to ‘cleanse’ my mind. But then — way on the bottom of my bookshelf, pushed back, as if in hiding, I detected a long forgotten dusty  text-book.

Oh, my favorite very favorite subject! I smiled, and pulled the book out. It was my old college philosophy book, Socarates to Sartre written by Samuel Enoch Stumpf. I snuggled into my cozy chair and began to read. Amazing, I thought… all the problems, the questions the conflicts, the contemplations of then… are the same as today. I found that to be comforting, and I loved the way Aristotle simplified life’s complicated questions, to which I truly found answers to my own perplexed thoughts. Writing about my philosophy book, would take another book, so I just want to say, I’ve found something to distract me, and comfort me. My next book might be more of a novel, to help me escape into another world… I have yet to find the right one… maybe you have a suggestion? What do you read, when you want to feel happier?

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Author: Angelika Schwarz

I'm an author on the go. Give me a caravan, laptop, camera, and Hubby at my side, ( not exactly in that order), and I'm on a 'roll'.

4 thoughts on “Can Reading Make you Happier?

  1. I need that kind of day, but for me it’s music which settles my soul and rebalances my thinking processes. I spent much of yesterday listening to my favourite music and it helped to shift the chaos of my emotions into a more peaceful mindset. I used to read a lot, like a whole book every night. For some reason I cant find escape in books these days. The best book I’ve read recently was yours. I need another one like that.

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  2. Sharon, music does that to me too, but if I’m sad, it can make me a lot sadder too. The main thing to remember is that we have to take care of ourselves. It helps no one if we are feeling lower than low. I’m so glad you are feeling better. I love what you said about my book. That sentence was better than anything I’ve read today. Thank you .

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  3. Music is my main therapy, especially when I’m upset, but any novel that completely transports you somewhere else, either in time or location would work as well. I don’t read many books these days, (spend way too much time online!), but thoroughly enjoyed yours, Angelika. 🙂 You met my friend Guilie Castillo-Oriard last week at my blog. I think you would enjoy her book – set in Curaçao – called “The Miracle of Small Things”.

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  4. I will check Guilie’s book out. Most definitely. I was planning to do so anyway… and yes I agree being on line takes away reading time. We do whatever we need for the moment. And that’s good.

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