Reading can be great therapy


Marcel Scott

Liam Murphy, 18, English major

Marcel Scott, Opinion Editor

When was the last time you actually read a book for your own enjoyment? If you’re like most people, probably not since high school.

Today it’s easy to get caught up in the golden age of television, where actors do the difficult work of reading an author’s writing for you, while you lay down on a couch, gorge yourself on your second bag of popcorn, and let a sea of dramatic information wash over you.

As nice as this may be, when we watch television as opposed to reading a book, we actually lose something valuable in our entertainment: Therapy.

Bibliotherapy, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “The use of reading materials for help in solving personal problems or for psychiatric therapy,” Of course this won’t solve all of our metaphysical and physical desires, but studies have shown that reading actually allows us to deal with our stress better — simply by reading about our problems.

Books, specifically novels, delve into an author’s mind. They’re the only way for us to actually get into someone’s thought process and understand what difficulties, ideas and interests make up the inner workings of someone’s extensive memory.

Speech doesn’t have the same effect on the human psyche. The spoken word comes with physical cues that act on our subconscious, sometimes in biased ways. For example, you might be more likely to believe someone who is attractive. When this happens we are not listening so much to the words, but instead, are focusing on the mesmerizing face that says the words.

The written word doesn’t carry this baggage. The words don’t hold an identity, only an idea, and we are able to analyze every word, phrase, comma and punctuation mark that is put down onto paper. This creates real thought, and in return we’re able to have a better understanding of what someone’s actually saying.

Television disguises what is actually being said through beautiful people’s mouths.

By only watching television, we’re limiting ourselves through this camouflaged speech; when we read, we create our own image and frame of reference that we relate to ourselves. From our interpretation, reading gives us the right mindset in order to efficiently solve a problem.

Perhaps if people read more the world would be a little less chaotic. Reading, is the solution to your problems. Now go, and read a book.