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National Stress Awareness Day – Relax with Shared Reading

Written by The Reader, 7th November 2012

Today is National Stress Awareness Day, something we all need to be aware of as day-to-day life increasingly leads to our individual and collective stress levels going through the roof - recent research has shown that a staggering 13.7 million working days are lost due to stress.

Some vital ways of destressing are to take some time out, meet with other people, sit down with a cup of tea, a biscuit and a book - and relax. From Monday to Friday, each week, Get Into Reading groups offer a chance for relaxation through shared reading in a variety of settings - in community centres, libraries, supermarkets and even in workplaces - allowing people to switch off from the stresses surrounding them and absorb themselves for a hour and a half in thinking about great literature.

Get Into Reading members have commented on how the relaxed, informal atmosphere of groups provide a chance to escape from the 'hassles' of life:

“I’ve only missed one session all year – work appointments get moved or cancelled but I see the reading group as non-negotiable date in the diary. They’re a safe-haven. No phone calls. No hassles. No interruptions.”

"Today was my first time at the group and it was just what I needed. Talking to other people has cheered me up and made me feel more positive! The poem helped a lot as well."

Get Into Reading is also making an impact on improving the mental health and wellbeing of individuals and communities in the long-term. The Reader Organisation runs a variety of Get Into Reading groups across the country within mental health settings, ranging from mental health drop-in centres in the community to acute mental health wards in hospitals, allowing people to experience an increase in social interaction and to grow steadily in confidence through sharing the reading of stories and poems. Recently Sam Parker of The Huffington Post UK visited one of our mental health groups in London, seeing how reading Great Expectations together made a great impact on the group members, who found themselves identifying with Pip and the words of Dickens.

Read the full Huffington Post article about The Reader Organisation, shared reading and mental health, and to discover some insights from Jane about where the Reading Revolution may head in the future towards changing the mental health of many more people in the country.

"Give it another ten years, and perhaps we’ll no longer see reading as simply as a source of pleasure or a route to education but a way to tackle diseases of both the body and mind."

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