by Vincent Mars

While my medical adventures drag on, slowed down by paperwork and the (un)availability of doctors, I am trying to take things easy, to eat healthy food, to go on enjoyable walks every day, to rest, and, of course, to read and write.

You know already that writing about your life and problems can be cathartic and that reading has numerous benefits for your brain. When you combine the two, reading with writing, the result is a highly effective home-brewed potion against anxiety, worry, and even depression, a much better way to spend your time than watching TV or YouTube, stalking people on Facebook, or letting yourself be alarmed by Google’s worrisome results.

Reading and writing do take some of your time, but they don’t cost money, and you can do them almost anywhere, at home (without even leaving your bed), on the subway, in your breaks at work, and just about anywhere else.

Whatever pressures you’re facing, whatever worries you have, whether it’s money issues, academic concerns, or romantic complications, reading and writing can help, not by solving your problems, though sometimes they can help you come up with a solution, but by relieving stress and clearing your mind. Let’s count the benefits of reading and writing upon our worried minds.


  • Slows down the heart rate and eases tension in your muscles

  • Helps you better understand your thoughts and feelings

  • Stimulates your mind, exercising your brain

  • Forces you to be still, making you less fidgety and more tranquil

  • Focuses your attention

  • Feeds your imagination, helping you come up with more creative solutions to your problems

  • Expands your knowledge, which can help you deal better with difficult situations

  • Improves your memory

  • Betters your analytical thinking skills

  • Entertains you in a deeper and more meaningful way than most movies, TV, shows, and media content, helping to take your mind off your worries

  • By showing you the effects that people’s actions can have, even when these people are fictional, mere characters in a story, helps you take better decisions yourself


  • Moves the stress in your head onto the paper

  • Crystallizes your thoughts – written thoughts are clearer than the jumbled thoughts in your head

  • Keeps you at a distance from the Internet and social media, which often only increase our stress

  • Helps you unburden your heart – whoever you are, whatever problems you’re facing, the sheet of (digital) paper will always listen to you, accepting all that you’re saying without interrupting you, without judging you, without condemning you, in a way that no person can; by simply writing ‘I am stressed’ on paper you become a little less stressed.

  • Enables you to imagine how things could have turned out if… – this may sound like taking day-dreaming too seriously, but it’s really a form of play, and all of us, even the adults and seniors, need to play from time to time to ease our minds; and few things relieve stress better than play

For Even Better Results…

  • Read books, paperbacks or hardbacks, or at least e-books, not tweets, Facebook updates, or even blog posts, because the distractions of social media and of the Web is always there.

  • Handwrite in a notebook or on a piece of paper, instead of typing on a computer. For me at least, less screen time means less and distraction. Not to mention that you rest your eyes.

  • Write in the morning, after waking up, before you check your smartphone or tablet, watch the news on TV, turn on the radio, drive to work, or even talk to other people. Even half an hour of writing in the morning and you’ll be more focused, calmer, and better prepared, mentally at least, to tackle the challenges of the day.

  • Read at night before going to sleep. You will fall asleep more easily and sleep better than if you watch TV or hang on social media sites before the final yawn.

  • Read and write with your smartphone out of sight, preferably muted or turned off. All those constant notifications can break the flow of the reading or writing experience and distract you.

If you don’t have the time to read and write, make some. You’re probably distracted by the Internet, Facebook, YouTube, your smartphone, your tablet, your TV, your gaming console, movies, and the countless other technological distractions of our century.

Read and write before you do anything else, before you check your email, your Facebook account, and your credit card balance. Read and write before the distractions of modern life discombobulate you.





Guest post contributed by Vincent Mars. Vincent is a Romanian with a dream: to write stories in English. Check out his blog for more of his articles and information about his book, 50 Word Stories.