The therapeutic power of literature is amazing. When we are assailed by sadness, anxiety and discomfort, reading poems and short stories can help transform our feelings, emotions and thoughts.
Thanks to words, we can come to understand our state of mind and deeply improve our behavior since, for some reason, we can find ourselves among the pages of a good story or a precious poem.
Our brain has the ability to experience what we read and to empathize with words; they help us to give a name and an expression to what happens inside us. All this has been documented in a profound way since the golden age of Greek culture.
It is curious that Aristotle already spoke of this centuries ago, when he invited sincere and cathartic reflections on what people could put in writing with the gift of writing. Kafka, in 1904, made the following reflection in his Letter to Oskar Pollak:
“If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a punch to the skull, what’s the use of reading it? To make us happy, as you write? My God, we would be happy even if we didn’t have books, and the books that make us happy we could eventually write them ourselves.
But we need books that act on us as a misfortune that hurts us a lot, like the death of one who was dearer to us than ourselves, as if we were pushed back into the woods, away from all men, like a suicide. , a book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. “
Literature: a sweet medicine that brings us closer to “healing”
Literature is a sweet medicine that brings us closer to “ healing “ , because it often allows us to normalize and ascertain how we feel, as well as to reason in a correct and healthy way.
Having examples of scriptures that allow us to eradicate our pain is a therapeutic blessing of great help in the process of improvement and “emotional healing”, especially because it educates us and helps us understand what is happening to us.
In fact, literature provides tools and recourses to stimulate our lucidity in moments of blockage. Taking this into consideration, The Reading Agency and the Society of Chief of Librarians have taken charge of selecting and collecting the best poems and short stories to combat anxiety and depression.
We show you an overview of some of the texts collected in this list , a list ranging from the “Handbook to feel good” by David D. Burns, up to “A brief history of the world” by Ernst H. Gombrich, passing through humorous works like those of author Bill Bryson.
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain. The curiosity and the desire for adventure in this tale promote themes such as exploration and the desire to conquer something different in one’s life.
- The little prince, of Saint-Exupéry. Whatever stage of your life you are in, you can always learn tremendous teachings of love, friendship, and inner life from this book.
- History of a body, by Daniel Pennac. This story speaks of pain, fear, death, illness and many other sufferings with which we can identify.
- The world of Sofia, by Jostein Gaarder. This precious book encourages us to continue on our journey and to take an interest in different aspects of our personality.
- Lives That Are Not Mine, by Emmanuel Carrère. It tells different stories that help us understand the different realities with which we are confronted, starting from the assumption that each person has a story that is worth telling.
- In Search of a Meaning in Life, by Viktor Frankl. A classic that will help you reflect deeply on your life and the difficulties you face.
- The Ugly Duckling, by Boris Cyrulnik. A complicated life does not always have to lead to failure, you can always go out with your head held high: this is the teaching and the faithful principle that guides the resilience of the human being.
- A Story We Can’t Tell, by Stephen Grosz. The book collects the stories of patients who have managed to solve their problems.
- The Feeling Good Handbook, by David D. Burns. This book presents a drug treatment for depression.
- A Brief History of the World, by Ernst H. Gombrich. An authentic reflection on the evolution of history and its implication in our lives.
- Don’t give up, by Mario Benedetti. This poem promotes the emotional strength we all need when we feel helpless.
In conclusion, literature can be tremendously transformative. Because? Because through it we can find order in the chaos and internal disorder that reigns within us, due to bad moments or traumas that occur during our life.
For these reasons we advise you not to lose the information contained in this article, because a good story or a precious poem can help you recognize, alleviate and cure, over time, the emotional pain that at times submerges you in its frozen sea. .
The Reading Agency; Society of Chief Librarians (2015). Reading Well Books on Prescription: Evaluation 2014-15 . October 2015. 36 p. Available here: http://readingagency.org.uk/news/RWBOPEvaluationReport2015.pdf
Baikie, K., & Wilhelm, K. (11 August 2005). Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing . Obtained from BJPsych Advances.