Clinical psychologist Caitlin Sopp agrees that journal club has many benefits. She says sharing your thoughts in a group environment can build confidence and boost self-esteem, while reading itself is also beneficial for emotional well-being. “When you’re engrossed in a good book, you don’t worry about what happened earlier in the day, you don’t worry about what awaits you the next day,” she says. “Reading is a form of mindfulness.”
Being engrossed in mindful activity then gives your brain a “well-deserved break” from mental chatter, Sopp says, and allows you to be imaginative and think creatively. “And that’s really positive, from a mental health perspective.”
Participating in the book club itself also provides mental health benefits, Tsakalakis adds. She views the book club as an act of “self-care”, saying people are reassured to have a planned and regular event, one in which the group is focused on the same common interest. “That’s the therapeutic aspect of it.”
Samantha says that most weeknights she gets stuck in the same “work, cook and go to bed” routine. At book club night, she relishes the opportunity to do something just for herself.
“While you’re in this conversation, it’s your own space, your own little world. For this time,
I left the rest of the world behind me.
This article appears in Sunday life review within the Herald of the Sun and the Sunday age on sale June 27. To learn more about Sunday Life, visit The Sydney Morning Herald and age.
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