‘Oh, for a nook and a story-book,
With tales both new and old;
For a jolly good book whereon to look
Is better to me than gold.’
~OLD ENGLISH SONG~
Anyone who is a ‘reader’ will understand the utter bliss of curling up with a juicy novel, enveloped in complete solitude and contentment. From light, relaxing holiday reads to compelling thrillers to keep you on the edge of your seat, each book we read will leave an impression and stay in our minds for years to come. But are these gifts of wisdom and truth more than just an opportunity to escape the reality of every day life or is there more to reading than meets the eye?
Thankfully, society’s knowledge and acceptance of depression and other mental health issues has progressed dramatically in recent years and with better understanding comes a wider exploration of possible treatments. While classic therapy can work for some, others may find this road much of a challenge. Group support could provide a therapeutic environment for sufferers but may also be quite daunting for the less sociable personality. This could be one of the reasons reading groups for mental health patients are becoming more popular. They give people another focus and the opportunity to use characters to display their own emotions that may otherwise be difficult to express within a group setting. Reading groups are a great way of bringing people together and allow them to open their minds beyond situations that are difficult to deal with.
In some cases, reading can also trigger fond memories in people and in turn allow them to reminisce a time when they possibly felt happier or even explore a poignant moment that may have contributed to their current feelings of depression. In the words of Sigmund Freud
“…not everything is forgotten that we believe to be” and reading books is a powerful way of reigniting memories through association, thus aiding the healing process. With this in mind, it is important that we treasure the gift of reading and encourage our children to enjoy books as early as in the womb. With experiences during early years paramount in children’s development, early reading can play a huge part in molding young minds and creating memories that can impact us right through life.
‘Once upon a time there was a boy
called Charlie Cook
Who curled up in a cosy chair
and read his favourite book…’
~CHARLIE COOK’S FAVOURITE BOOK~
So why not buy a loved one a gift they are certain to remember… the precious gift of a book!