Less the Stress: Day 2 – Reading
New to the series? Read the first post here.
Reading Rainbow, you guys. It’s the best. Everyone has a different relationship with books and reading. Some people are more academic. Some people (gasp!) hate books. Some people think the answer to life is buying all the self-help books in the world. In that sense, reading as a stress relief is probably only valuable in relation to how you view reading/books. But for me, this is totally in my wheelhouse.
I grew up reading constantly, until sometime around middle school and then I didn’t pick up my reading habit again until later in high school. I used to clear out our library’s sale books at 50 cents or something crazy like that. I’ve gotten stuck in genres before, but usually through recommendations — or lately, the internet — I discover something new that I love. My relationship with books is all about disappearing into a story. I think in the narrators voice, I imagine real life comparisons to the events of the book, I disappear into the world inside the pages.
Most great writers say that reading as much as you write is key to getting better. These days with life being so busy I don’t find myself with afternoons to spend reading new books for 3 or 4 hours. Most of the time I manage 10 minutes before falling asleep. However, I did recently get myself a library card so I can check out books (and DVDs!) for free. I used to buy books more but that’s wasteful and unnecessary. I am totally a re-reader, but only with a select few books. I’ve read Salinger’s Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories about a thousand times — they were my default subway books in NYC in between new books. Junot Diaz is also another great for re-reading with both his short story books and the one I’m reading above (just finished actually), The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
If I were making a scale (shit, should I make a rating scale for these tips?) I would put reading at about 95% effective for stress relief. Whether it’s a classic or a young adult easy read or a memoir, falling into someone else’s story for any period of time relaxes me greatly.