Last Updated on January 22, 2023 by Thalia
Reading is self-care.
It helps to reduce stress, ease anxious thoughts, boost focus and prepare you for the day ahead.
And the best thing is, reading is enjoyable.
Here’s everything you need to know about reading for mental well-being and how doing this simple ritual every morning benefits your entire day.
Table of Contents
- I read books before they were cool
- Reading is my ultimate self-care ritual
- Benefits of reading
- 5 ways reading in the morning benefits mental health and well-being
- How to build the habit of reading in the morning
- Final thoughts
I read books before they were cool
I know, in an era where everyone on Instagram is a “bookstagrammer”, it’s hard to think that books were never “in vogue.”
But at some point, reading was considered uncool. In my teens and early twenties, it was rare that I would come across another reader (besides my two BFFs). In fact, whenever I broached the subject of “what’s your favourite book?” to someone, I would always be told, “I don’t know, Harry Potter?”
Harry Potter. It was always the go-to answer.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Harry Potter but in a world full of books, couldn’t people be more imaginative?
I would read everything. Memoirs, mother-daughter relationships, psychological thrillers, true stories, contemporary fiction, etc
Books were my passion.
I would read during my morning commute on the tube without looking up from my book once. I was so enthralled I would continue reading on the escalator while everyone else rushed past me. And if I was desperate to stay in my fictional world a little longer I would also read while walking.
I also would never leave home without a book and would often get to places early so I could read while waiting for friends.
There was no doubt about it, I was a major bookworm.
And I still am.
Reading is my ultimate self-care ritual
Over the years, reading has become my ultimate self-care ritual.
Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed, reading is the first thing I turn to. It helps me to relax and calm my anxious thoughts.
There’s just something about fiction that is so comforting. It allows me to escape from the world for a little while.
And reading non-fiction, like self-development books, has also allowed me to learn new things and challenge myself mentally.
In all honesty, reading has supported my mental well-being in ways I didn’t know were possible.
Reading is also a great way to decompress after a long day and wind down before bed. I’m not exactly someone who reads every night but it’s comforting to know my book is there for me if I need it.
For me, my “non-negotiable reading habit” is actually reserved for the morning.
Because I find it is the best way to start my day.
I now read for 30 minutes every morning without fail and would honestly be lost without it.
Benefits of reading
Before I dive into the ways that reading in the morning has supported my own mental well-being, let’s first look at the overall benefits of reading.
Reading is one of the most affordable and accessible forms of self-care, and it’s something most people can do.
Not only is it good for brain health, but it nourishes the soul too.
Benefits of reading include:
- Mentally stimulates the brain
- Helps to reduce stress
- Enhances knowledge
- Introduces you to new vocabulary
- Improves your memory and cognitive function
- Boosts focus and concentration
- Develops stronger analytical skills
- Increases empathy
- Encourages self-expression and self-identity
- It’s a healthy (and affordable) source of entertainment
5 ways reading in the morning benefits mental health and well-being
Without further adieu, here are the 5 ways reading in the morning has positively impacted my mental well-being and benefits me every single day.
I encourage you to bookmark this page so you can refer back to it whenever you need to.
1 | Reading eases anxious morning thoughts
For me, there’s nothing worse than jumping straight out of bed and getting started on my to-do list. I have a tendency to wake up feeling anxious and if I don’t give myself space in the morning to adjust, then I will spend the entire day feeling anxious.
Instead, I need time to ease into the day, ground my feet and find calm.
And reading is the ritual that does that for me. It allows me to spend time in the morning to just be and guide my thoughts towards a more positive light.
Reading to ease anxiety and relieve stress has also made me a more productive person.
Because reading, especially non-fiction books, stimulates the brain.
You are introduced to new vocabulary and different perspectives and ways of thinking. You are educating yourself and finding out valuable information that you might not be able to find elsewhere.
So not only can reading in the morning help you to find inner peace, but it also benefits brain health and cognitive function.
A win-win if you ask me!
2 | Reading encourages creativity and imagination
I love escaping reality at any chance I get and so I have been re-watching The Vampire Diaries on Netflix recently.
But I’m very well aware that watching TV is a passive activity. Someone else’s imagination has already been created and that’s what you see on the screen. You don’t need to think or visualise and so you can end up zoning out.
In contrast, reading is an active activity as you have to take in the words and visualise the story yourself. When we read, we are transported to new places and exposed to new ideas. We can explore different cultures and worlds, and we can even meet new friends along the way.
And as you become more comfortable with using your imagination, you may find yourself being more creative in other areas of your life as well.
Reading has actually become one of my main sources of inspiration.
Sometimes my best ideas pop into my head when I’m reading an exciting adventure novel or contemporary fiction book.
So take the time every morning to read and nurture your creative flow.
And once you’re finished with your reading session, pick up a notebook and just start writing.
See what thoughts, feelings or ideas come to mind. You might be surprised!
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”George R.R. Martin
3 | Reading teaches you patience
Patience is a skill I have been improving on since quitting my toxic job in London and travelling the world. And although it was solo travelling that taught me patience, it is reading that continues to nurture it.
Because I’ve learnt that reading is something you cannot rush.
You cannot rush the characters to fall in love. It will happen when it happens. You cannot speed-read to the end of a book just so you can tick it off your TBR list. Otherwise, what is the point? You need patience when reading an epic fiction book. It takes as long as it takes to read.
So if you’re looking to develop a new personal growth skill, start reading and learn the art of patience.
4 | Reading gives you a reason to wake up
Waking up in the morning can sometimes be a struggle. Especially if it’s dark and cold outside or you’re in a low place.
But reading can spark a reason for you to wake up.
Have you ever been so engrossed in a fiction book that you didn’t want it to end? Did you want two characters to fall in love so badly that you fantasised about them doing so? Or were you so intent on finding out who the killer was you stayed up all night to finish the book?
Reading can give you that passion and craving you are currently missing.
All you need is an exciting, suspenseful thriller that will make you excited to wake up so you can find out what happens next.
A book that had this impact on me recently was How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie.
So if you dread opening your eyes in the morning, give reading a go and see how it benefits and improves your mental health.
5 | Reading is the best form of self-care
Taking care of yourself is essential and it doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to be effective.
Reading for 10, 20 or even 30 minutes in the morning can be part of your self-care routine.
I’ve always said self-care can be whatever you want it to be. As long as it addresses your needs and helps you to feel good inside then that’s enough. You don’t need to spend hours applying a face mask, drinking a green matcha latte, going to the gym for an hour and then meditating.
Self-care can be as simple as reading in the morning.
So embrace this ritual and be one step closer to nourishing your mental and physical well-being.
Save these reading benefits on Pinterest!
How to build the habit of reading in the morning
Need help kickstarting the habit of reading for 30 minutes in the morning?
Here are my go-to tips and tricks…
1 | Wake up earlier
I’m not talking about joining the 5 am club but if you don’t yet have a morning routine then I seriously suggest you build one.
Morning routines boost your energy levels, lower stress and increase your productivity.
But here’s the thing – your morning routine doesn’t have to be overly long or complicated.
It can be as simple and quick as you need it to be. In fact, reading for 10 or 20 minutes can be your entire morning routine.
As long as it allows you to wake up and ease into to the day. Remember, “morning routine time” is time dedicated to you.
So set your alarm slightly earlier (however long you need to read) and stick to it.
2 | Make your reading habit obvious
On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy do you find it to scroll in the morning?
Chances are your phone is on the bedside table next to you and it’s the first thing you see when you wake up.
So start standing in the way of you and your phone and read instead of scrolling by setting up a cue. Leave your phone in a drawer and place your book on the bedside table next to you so it’s the first thing you see in the morning.
You’ll slowly get into the habit of picking up your book as soon as you wake up instead of your phone.
3 | Read books you actually enjoy
Reading should never feel like a chore!
It’s supposed to be a relaxing activity that you enjoy.
But the reason why reading can sometimes feel boring and arduous is that we are reading the wrong book.
Maybe the genre is all wrong for you (it’s YA for me) or you’ve chosen a very scientific non-fiction book.
So choose a book that suits your personality and one you actually enjoy!
“If you want to read more don’t be embarrassed if you prefer steamy romance novels over non-fiction. Read whatever fascinates you.”James Clear | Atomic Habits
4 | Start small
I know that it can feel daunting to implement a new habit.
So my recommendation when trying to build anything new is to start small.
This will take the pressure off and help you enjoy this simple ritual even more.
Start with just reading one page of your book. Once you’ve nailed this, increase it to 5 pages, then 10 pages and then an entire chapter.
After a while of increasing your daily dose, you’ll realise that you’re reading for about 30-minutes.
And the hardest thing will be putting the book down!
5 | Don’t rush the process
I know it’s currently popular to set a yearly goal of reading 30 books (or more) within 12 months but my advice to you is to not set a goal like this. Because it can add unwanted and unnecessary pressure. Not to mention a desire to rush through it in order to pick up a new book.
You want to create a mindful reading habit.
Not a “reading for the sake of it” habit.
So dive into a new book with the intention that it takes as long as it takes to read it.
Don’t rush the process of reading.
Save these reading tips on Pinterest!
I hope this post on the benefits of reading in the morning has been helpful.
I’m not an expert on mental health but I write this with my own experience in mind in the hope that it will inspire and help you in some way.
Whether that is to give you support, encourage you to make a change or make you feel less alone.
So I advocate for you to read every morning from now on.
It’s a super affordable wellness practice as all you need to get started is a book you enjoy.
Browse second-hand bookshops for pre-loved copies or even consider reading e-books. You can sign up for Kindle Unlimited for £7.99 per month with your first 2 months free or become a sucker for 99p fiction books.
I swear, reading never looked this good!
But please bear in mind that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.
It is ultimately up to you to figure out how reading makes you feel and if you want to add it to your self-care routine.
And if you need any further guidance or advice please feel free to reach out to me via email.
My inbox is always open.
Until next week,
♡ Thalia xx
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