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Index – The Science – Why do we feel sad after reading a good book?

Researchers at the University of Sussex establishedReading a book of any kind for six minutes reduces stress levels by 68 percent because focus helps divert the brain’s attention from frustrating thoughts, reducing heart rate and muscle tension. But what happens when we finish a good book? The arrival of “Post-Book Blues”.

As Aristotle wrote in his Poetics, literature is more serious than history because the historian is preoccupied with what happened and when, but imagination allows us to see what might happen while developing our imagination and moral sense as well.

But after a good book, it feels like feeling depressed. We feel neglected and empty, but why does that happen, and why don’t we get the next good book off the bookshelf right away?

short or lasting sadness

Maja Djeket, director of the Self-Development Lab at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management says: Bookriot:

Perhaps after reading the book, the reader’s grief indicates the loss of something of value due to its association with the characters, or his regret for the disappearance of the entire fictional world.

But it is also possible that the central issues of the book remain active in the human psyche. According to Djekić, two concepts can enhance the distressing effect: emotional transmission and empathy. The former may be familiar to anyone who has experienced what it’s like to get lost in a book and experience the story through the characters’ eyes. In this case, a person’s sense of time disappears, but even his self-awareness weakens. The world of narrative, far from reality, allows us to perceive the events in the story as real in the context of the story, even if they are not entirely realistic. It’s times like these, after completing the book, that the fictional world, which we’ve realized was real for a while, where the characters were close friends in the style of real relationships, is missing. Research shows that reading fiction is energizing and emotional transmission can increase empathy.

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According to Djekić, not all post-book grief has the same cause.

If the void subsides after a few days, it is just the sadness of parting with the book and the brief outburst of loss.

However, if this feeling lasted longer, it could have changed your personality as well. We continue to reflect on the questions in the book, and this can lead to a personal transformation. By reading literary works, one can come out of oneself and become more receptive to personal change or transformation.

The end of a beautiful friendship

Writer and librarian, Bijal Shah, says that after completing a good book one seems to be sad, but these days it can be even stronger because people suffer from loneliness. Societies do not exist, our self-confidence does not grow, and books are likely to fill this space because they represent alternative relationships and a new community with the characters in the book. According to the Shah of Books

Give them the chance to through an object Discover our passions.

The sense of alienation appears to have been exacerbated by the pandemic and quarantine, highlighting the importance of social connections and personal connections. Books can fill the void created by non-existent social relationships, but as we near the end, it is as if the friendship is breaking off.

The psychology of empathy

The sad consequences of prolonged periods can increase our empathy for others and cause us to confront our perceptions of ourselves. One of the keys to the emotional connection is the hero that the reader can identify with. At such times, one forgets about his daily fears, deals with and recognizes the personality problems, fears and emotions, but also internalizes them.

People choose books that resonate with them.

Said Keith Utley, cognitive psychologist at the University of Toronto BBCNick. When an actor is happy, sad, or angry, readers often feel and master those feelings. It is also one of the strengths of literature and that is why art can help us deal with our emotions.

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Depression after reading results from a synthesis of bonding with the actors and shared feelings.

(Cover image: Markus Scholz/picture alliance via Getty Images)