Escaping into a great story

Escaping into a great story…

Today World Book Day celebrates its 22nd Anniversary and has become a firm favourite in schools throughout the country. This celebration encouraged reading and sharing stories together. The day was started by its namesake charity, to try to ensure that all children had the opportunity to own their own boo. And indeed it seems to be achieving its mission!

It is also a reminder to us all about the importance of reading and the emotion it can bring. There is a special joy to reading a really good book and a great enthusiasm in recommending it to others.

I know I’m not alone in having books that hold nostalgia throughout my life to date; be that listening to the adventures of Hairy Maclairy as a small child at bed time, to the wonderful warm feeling that finishing many a Roald Dahl book can leave you with, when the good characters triumph. I also enjoyed a short spate of autobiographies of an eclectic mix of people in the public spotlight (because as a teenager you think everyone’s life must be better than your own!). I also enjoyed a competitive reading session with my adult siblings, as we raced to finish the Harry Potter collection first!

The role books can play

Books can play such an important role in our life. Educating us, helping us to relate to others, engaging us and challenging us. Reading can also present an escapism for many lonely people; a chance to escape a sad or unfulfilling reality and to be emerged in a tale, of excitement, adventure, romance or friendship. When you find a book you really enjoy you can be immersed in the story for hours. You find yourself desperately turning the pages to find out what happens next whilst not wanting a great story to come to an end! When reading, we really can find ourselves vicariously living our lives through others. It really is quite a magical and unique experience.

World Book Day

This World Book Day I would encourage you to share a story with anyone in your life whom you may think is feeling a little lonely. Share a story about you, your day, and your life or even recommend a book to them! This could offer a chance of escapism and something that will entertain and amuse them.

Volunteering Makes You Feel Good!

Befriending undoubtedly brings lots of benefits to the person who receives a volunteer visits. Increased confidence, mood and wellbeing are all areas improved by receiving a befriending visit. However did you know being a Volunteer also brings with it a bunch of positive effects on your health too?

Mental Health

A recent report by the Citizens Advice Bureau suggests that four in five volunteers believe their volunteering activity has had a positive effect on their health. The report indicates that volunteering boosts self-esteem, employability and health – especially mental health. It suggests those who gave up their time to help others were less likely to suffer from depression plus they had higher levels of life satisfaction and wellbeing.

Cyril Flint Volunteers often talk about the feel good factor of “giving something back” to their communities, or supporting an organization or charity that has supported someone close to them. Volunteering can also be used to gain work experience or to widen social circles. All of which can have a positive effect on Mental Health.

But we were surprised to learn that volunteering has positive implications that go beyond mental health. A growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might also be rewarded with better physical health—including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.

Physical Health Benefits:

  • It reduces stress
    Doing things for others helps maintain good health.Positive emotions reduce stress and boost our immune system, and in turn can protect us against disease.
  • It helps get rid of negative feelings
    Negative emotions such as anger, aggression or hostility have a negative impact on our mind and body. Engaging in random acts of kindness can help decrease these feelings and stabilise our overall health.

Volunteering helps you live longer – really!

Whilst it’s not too hard to see the link between helping others and gaining a sense of connection, pride, and perspective, did you know that it can also help you live longer?

Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School in the south of England analyzed data from 40 published studies and found evidence that volunteers had a 20 percent lower risk of death than their peers who do not volunteer. The study also found that volunteers had lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced well-being.

Dr. Suzanne Richards, who lead the team of researchers at Exeter, said that more testing on this subject is necessary in order to find out whether or not biological, cultural, and social factors are associated with a willingness to volunteer in the first place, as they are often associated with better health.

“The challenge now is to encourage people from more diverse backgrounds to take up volunteering, and then to measure whether improvements arise for them,” she said.

So there you have it – the benefits of volunteering are vast and varied. Give something back and improve your health today – visit the “Volunteer” section of our website today to find out more!