We see the words stress, anxiety and depression a lot. There are countless reports about improving our mental health on the television, in newspapers and on social media. But how do we reduce our stress and become happier people? How do we stop feeling lonely?
These emotions are complicated and often have lots of different causes and symptoms, which can make it seem impossible to get help and feel better. Recently there has been a big effort by schools and other organisations to investigate what causes these issues and what we can do to improve them. Our Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said;
“It’s scientifically proven. Access to the arts and social activities improves people’s mental and physical health. It makes us happier and healthier”.
Governments are now “socially prescribing” activities like singing and dancing to improve long-term illnesses and wellbeing. But how does it work? And why do Book Clubs help?
- Book clubs have been found to increase communication. When we read a book with a group of people we want to talk to them about it, and when we talk we instantly become less isolated! We also feel more confident to discuss different topics in school or at home.
- Reading lets us experience our emotions in a safe space. What is happening on the page is not happening in real life, but we can still feel the emotions of the characters. This lets us “practice” our emotions through reading.
- When we read with others it is easy to find common interests and make friends. Friends are important because they support us and we can talk to them if things feel difficult (they also make us laugh, make us birthday cards and hang out with us, so yeah… friends are the greatest).
- It is universal – you do not have to be the top of your class, have money, or be talented at sports to join or start a book club. A book club allows anyone from any background to join in and learn news things.
- Book clubs and reading give us important time away from our computer screens. We spend lots of time looking at screens and this can be bad for our eyes and our minds.
- Most importantly, being part of a book club encourages us to be passionate about reading! Reading increases our memory, creativity and knowledge. You will learn new words and be able to analyse books, finding symbolism and meanings. These skills and passions can help you to find a job or university course you really love in the future.
It is not always easy to know how to improve your mood and mental health, so why not trust the science and try a book club? The benefits are there for you to read and the best bit of all? There are no downsides!
Get in touch to learn more about the benefits of book clubs in your school.
By Sarah Coffey