Reading and Grief

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, September 4, 2023

A book is a powerful tool. A good book can transport you to another world, or help you dive deep into your emotions. The right book can provide new ideas and unique perspectives. Reading books can be a positive way for many people to work through their grief. In fact, reading for emotional support and guidance is referred to by experts as bibliotherapy. This article will discuss how reading can help you work through your grief.

Reading and Finding Peace

Opening up a book can be a relaxing experience for many people. Taking the time to read a book can give you time to unwind and re-center yourself. Finding a quiet place to read may not always be possible, so consider reading while listening to nature sounds or other white noise. In many ways, reading can be similar to meditation. Blocking out distractions and delving into a good book can be very peaceful.

Escapism in Reading

Sometimes, it can be good to take a break from reality. Books allow us to temporarily escape into a new world. Different genres can help you to find your escape. When choosing a book, you may want to avoid ones that may trigger unwanted negative emotions. Books that cover topics such as death could possibly be upsetting. If you are choosing a new book, consider looking at reviews online to help you navigate your choices.

Connecting With Others Through Books

Books allow us to see through new and unique perspectives. Sharing books with loved ones can give you something to discuss with each other. This can be a good way to brighten conversations that might otherwise be marred with grief. 
You may also want to consider books that may help you connect with those you have lost. After the death of a loved one, reading some of their favorite books can help you feel closer to them. Consider picking up a book that they frequently read or had mentioned. If available to you, consider exploring their bookshelves for something that interests you.

Reading Familiar Books

Reading your favorite books again is another way to find comfort through reading. Returning to a favorite book series or a favorite story can be a good way to reconnect with good memories during a period of grief. Consider looking into your favorite series to see if the author continued writing it. Finding a sequel or next book in your favorite series can be a good way to explore new but comfortable material.

Reading to Express Emotions

A good book will make you feel something. Whether it's to laugh or cry, finding something else to trigger emotions other than your grief can be helpful. Books full of humor can help you laugh and lighten your mood. Sad books, as long as they won’t upset you further, can be a helpful outlet for expressing your grief in a healthy manner. 

The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are a number of resources out there. For our Grief Resource Center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here
For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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