We live in a world of terror, violence and hate. We read about tragedy after tragedy and are expected to go on working, learning and living our lives. But sometimes we just need to get away from it all, not because we don’t care, but because we care too much. Because it hurts too much
Life can get really hard sometimes. We don’t always get to choose how we feel, whether it’s stressed and afraid, depressed or alone. But even if this is our reality, it doesn’t have to destroy us.
I, like many others, have found a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope on those black nights: stories.
You could say that stories have saved me, many times over. When the weight of my world was too much to bear, I turn my teary eyes to the words on a page or an image on a screen.
When depression tried to kill me, I forced myself to read book after book until I was in a better place. It was painful and I could hardly see through the tears, but eventually to stories would take over and I would barely notice that my cheeks had dried.
Sometimes my mind is an ocean of pain. Sometimes I think I will drown in it. But if I can just grab the life preserver floating in front of me and let a story take up space in my thoughts, it can push out the negative feelings and give me reprieve, if only for a moment.
Although we need medications, support, counseling and exercise in times of struggle, we also need stories and art. We need to see that the world is still a beautiful place.
There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that books, films and music can lighten our mood and change our brain state, or at very least, show us that we are not alone.
Whether you’re looking for a character to commiserate with, or a light and fluffy distraction, there will always be a story out there, just for you.
I have made it through some very tough times with a book in my hand. They have been friends in times when I felt I had none. They have been distractions when I wanted out of the hardships of my life. Books are truly portable magic.
There is something very comforting about getting lost in a story, getting drawn from the prison of the mind and pulled into another world. Stories have the power transform and change our point of view.
I’ve found that whenever I’m feeling sad, sick or stressed the most comforting thing is a cup of tea and a good book, an old film or even just a song that gets me.
With a book in our hands we can entertain ourselves, find a sense of oneness with a character and feel less alone. Stories connect us to each other. We become something outside ourselves, if only for a little while and often that is enough to give us what we need.
Whatever your sorrows, know that you are never alone. Make some time to find solace in a story and you’ll feel better.
So grab your story of choice and give yourself a comforting night of self-love.
Here are a few tips and ideas:
- Pick a story (or several): a favorite book, a new movie you’ve been wanting to see, an album or an entire TV season on Netflix.
- Make it cozy. Create a happy setting by adding warmth. Warmth is a symbol of comfort. It relaxes and nurtures.
- A hot bath – Add bubbles or bath bombs to make it special. I love Lush bath products. Try The Comforter Bubble Bar.
- A cup of tea, cider of hot cocoa – Peppermint or Sleepy Time Tea are my favorites
- Sitting by the fire – If you don’t have a fire, you can find crackling fire videos on Youtube or Netflix. They give the perfect reading ambiance.
- Softness – a fluffy blanket, flannel pajamas, warm socks or slippers
- Lighting -Scented candles, Bath & Body works candles are my go-to for amazing scents. Add some twinkle lights or low light lamps to create a relaxed atmosphere
- Classical music
- Freshly baked treats – gooey chocolate chip cookies or a warm bowl of oatmal
- Cuddle Buddies – whether they’re people, animals or plush bears and pillows
- Put Your Hand over your heart – this is supposed to calm and revive
Have stories helped you get through difficult times? What are your favorite stories when you need comforting? I’d love to hear about how stories have lifted your spirits.