A poem a day keeps the doctor away!
In today’s fast paced world, most of us are keen to find ways to relax. Maybe with a glass or two of wine? Or a good film at the cinema or on TV, or possibly a yoga class or a trip to the gym?
As a long-term poet, I love poetry and have no hesitation in recommending the power of rhyming words to make me feel positive. So can reading, writing or receiving poetry actually be good for us?
A slower approach
When was the last time you sat down and read a poem?
The truth is that many of us don’t read very much poetry after we leave school.
We may be scared that we won’t understand it, or it might seem like too much effort to try and work out what the poet is talking about. The truth is that both of these very factors are why poetry can be beneficial. Yes, sometimes it can be tricky to get what the poet is saying, and it can take longer to read verse than written prose, and you DO have to concentrate more than you would when flicking through social media. But all of these are really good reasons to give it a go. Immersing ourselves in words and really concentrating on their meaning can slow us down, act as a form of meditation and engage our minds on other things than day to day cares and worries
The great escape
All wonderful written words can transport us to somewhere else. When we become absorbed in what we are reading, we can imagine that we are in a completely different location in our heads. Poetry that portrays a place that is not the same as our everyday world, or takes us to a different time or country, can help us escape from daily life and experience reality from the poet’s perspective, rather than our own. This form of escapism doesn’t require an actual journey, but instead helps us to travel somewhere else in our own minds.
A poem choice for every mood
There are many poets and many different types of poetry to read.
Some poetry is designed to be happy and uplifting, whilst other verse is deliberately dark and less upbeat. The reality is that there is appropriate poetry available for every mood. If we are feeling a bit down, an uplifting love poem or even some silly nonsense verse can be just what we need. Alternatively, poems about people’s struggles in life can resonate with our own experiences, and reassure us that when we are facing problems and aren’t feeling our best – someone else has been there too.
Good poetry for good health
It has also been suggested that reading poetry can actually be good for our mental health and can help to combat feelings of anxiety or depression.
In a study on the benefits of poetry reported by Daily Mail online, it was found that writing, reading or listening to poetry could potentially help people who experience depression. It has even been advocated that poetry could be offered on the NHS as a form of therapy to help people feel more positive about life.
The positive benefits of being a poet
As a keen and published poet I am very keen to extol the virtues of good poetry. I compose poetry because I enjoy the creative process but I also know the happiness it can bring into people’s lives.
So, I highly recommend that you find time for poetry in your life. If you want me to, I will be delighted to write the perfect life enhancing poem for a special person in your life!