Today 10th October marks World Mental Health Day. In a world fuelled by technology, books are being forgotten about and cast aside. Reading books is an integral part of development and continuing reading into adulthood is like a daily jog around the park, it keeps our brain active in all the right places.
Which is why reading books can be linked to reducing diseases such as a Alzheimer’s. Those that read for an hour a day are less at risk from the disease. This is because those people were reading actual books and their brains were working harder to recall narratives and characters and weave the tale together – as apose to those that flicked through a magazine or scanned a few newspaper articles.
The main reason I encourage my kids to read is empathy. When people stop reading they become less empathetic. Reading narrative gives you the ability to see different perspectives and use them in real life scenarios. It also helps you to read emotional cues – something that texting and communicating on social media does not offer.
Being unable to relate to others and be a kind understanding human can lead to a host of emotional issues which fall into the category of poor mental health.
I’m a strong advocator of reading in general but on this World mental health day there are 3 books in particular that I would recommend to anyone who is suffering from depression, anxiety, loneliness, OCD, panic attacks, drug and alcohol abuse or bi polar disorder, to name a few examples of poor mental health.
These books are not a cure, but more a subtle remedy to help shake the life back up inside you. To remind you that life is precious, beautiful, funny and worth living. They also candidly illustrate that you are not weird or strange for feeling the way you do. You are simply human. And you’re doing okay.
Cathy uses the death of her brother some 20 years earlier to show how holding onto grief can have massive implications for your mental state of mind. Cathy talks of how she felt all those years, the therapy she sought and the way she deals with her ‘heartache’ today. Finished off nicely with a ‘To Do’ list for when you’re feeling low or out of sorts.
Never before have I read words that explain so impeccably how it is to feel anxiety and depression. When the black dog visits, no one can explain to another how outside of yourself you feel, or in other situations, how you simply feel nothing.
Matt bravely plots his life story talking of his first panic attack to the present day an how he keeps his anxiety and depression at bay. A must read for everyone.
Anna Whitehouse is the brain child behind this life force. She takes parental calamities and pitfalls and plonks then on a page so we can all feel less shitty about our bubble wrap textured stomachs, the 3.5 hours sleep a night and the post apocalyptic crisis in every room in the house.
Whilst the Pukka’s offer little in the way of advice for a cleaner, less stressful life ( let’s face it there’s no get out of jail free card when kids come along) they do offer a whole host of practical parenting advice amongst the jovial and sometimes heart wrenching tales. It’s good to know we’re in it together.