An activity that brings about joy is for you to read a book and develop your mind through the acquisition of knowledge.
Al-Jaahiz, an Arab writer from centuries ago, advised one to repel anxiety through the reading of books:
"The book is a companion that does not praise you and does not entice you to evil. It is a friend that does not bore you, and it is a neighbor that causes you no harm. lt is an acquaintance that desires not to extract from you favors through flattery, and it does not deceive you with duplicity and lies. When you are poring through the pages of a book, your senses are stimulated and your intellect sharpens... Through reading the biographies of others, you gain an appreciation of common people while learning the ways of kings. It can even be said that you sometimes learn from the pages of a book in a month, that which you do not learn from the tongues of men in a century. All this benefit, yet no loss in wealth and no need to stand at the door of the teacher who is waiting for his fees or to learn from someone who is lower than you in manners. The book obeys you by night as it does by day, both when you are traveling and when you are at home. A book is not impaired by sleep nor does it tire in the late hours of the night. lt is the teacher who is there for you whenever you are in need of it, and it is the teacher who, if you refuse to give to it, does not refuse to give to you. lf you abandon it, it does not decrease in obedience. And when all turn against you, showing you enmity, it remains by your side. As long as you are remotely attached to a book, it suffices you from having to keep company with those that are idle. It prevents you from sitting on your doorstep and watching those who pass by. It saves you from mixing with those that are frivolous in their character, foul in their speech, and woeful in their ignorance. If the only benefit of a book was that it keeps you from foolish daydreaming and prevents you from frivolity, it would certainly be considered a true friend who has given you a great favor."
Sayings that deal with the virtues of books
Abu ‘Ubaydah said:
"Al-Muhallab gave his son the following advice: ‘O’ son, do not linger in the marketplace unless you are visiting the maker of armor or the book vendor."’
Al-Hasan al-Lulu’ee said:
“Forty years have passed, and I have not dozed off in the day or in the night… except that a book was resting on my chest."
Ibn al-Jahm said:
“If I feel drowsy when it is time to sleep ----- and wasteful is the sleep that exceeds one’s needs ---- I take up a book from the books of wisdom and I find bliss in coming across a pearl (of wisdom) .... I am more alert when I am happily engaged in reading and learning than I am when I hear the braying of the donkey or the shrill noise of something breaking."
He also said:
“If I find a book to be agreeable and enjoyable, and if I deem it to be beneficial- you will see me hour after hour checking how many pages are left, from fear of being close to the end. And if it is many volumes with a great number of pages, my life and my happiness are complete."
And the best, highest, and worthiest of books is:
([This is the] Book [the Qur’an] sent down unto you [O’ Muhammad], so let not your breast be narrow there from, that you warn thereby, and a reminder unto the believers) (Qur’an 7: 2)