One of the Sixways of Wellbeing that I feel has recently been incorporated into my life has been the aspect of “Take Notice.” Prior to becoming an undergraduate, one of my main ways to destress was reading. It provided a safe haven where I could escape work for a few hours, it led to stimulating conversations with friends and I would also anticipate and theorise about the next instalment in a series. Reading was also pivotal in helping me decide what I wanted to do in terms of a degree, as I read around a few topics before ultimately deciding that Psychology suited my interests the best. However, when I came to university, what I and many other people on my course realised was that, unfortunately, recreational reading was put on the back burner. This was typically due to feeling that there was a lack of time for this activity, or because of the amount of mandatory reading on the course meant that people would rather invest their spare time on a different activity. I did, however, miss this hobby, so I made a conscious decision to incorporate reading into my free time over the break.

I initially started by reading a few fluffy contemporary novels to get back into the swing of things, and then I came across a book that I was hooked on. It was a novel called “Confessions of a Sociopath” by M. E. Thomas, a memoir about a clinically diagnosed sociopath which explored her thoughts and opinions on a wide array of topics. It was riveting to have a glimpse into the perspective of someone who shattered all the Hollywood stereotypes of what a sociopath is, the writing style had a flow that urged you to continue and made you eager to read when you had the next opportunity to do so. Through reading this book and subsequent novels, what followed was a number of positive outcomes related to the “Take Notice” aspect of wellbeing. I was able to sleep better as I decided to read at the end of the night instead of typing away on my laptop, I was able to return to revision with a clearer mindset as the act of reading allowed space to reflect and generate new ideas and in general, reading allowed me to set aside time for myself to relax and not overwhelm myself with work-related tasks.

In simpler terms, I fell in love with reading again. It reminded me that doing activities that you love and find pleasurable should remain a priority, and that doing this will have a positive knock-on effect in other aspects of your life. I highly encourage you all to either re-discover a previous passion of yours or to invest time in exploring and developing a new interest. Whether this is reading, art, watching movies – anything! As long as you are doing something you enjoy, and it takes you out of a stressful headspace, then it should have precedence in your life and should be regarded with importance.

If you want to get back into reading and are not sure which books to read, these links may be useful:

By Kadija Khatun