Reading reduces stress levels

Aug 2012
Reading reduces stress levels
Reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68%

There are many ways to reduce stress levels; going for a walk, listening to music or drinking tea are all popular ways of winding down. None of these will come as much of a surprise, but have you considered the stress reducing benefits of regular reading?

A 2009 study by the University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. (The Telegraph, March 2009)

As reading is an essential part of many jobs, it is easy to forget the benefits of reading a book for pleasure. However, kicking back with a book that has no connection to your regular routine can bring numerous benefits.

Opening a book and immersing yourself in its content, whether it be a romantic novel, or a sci-fi story, will help you to escape from the stresses of everyday life. Reading also has the physical benefits of reducing your heart rate and easing muscle tension. Think of reading as a healthy and free brain holiday!

Dr Lewis, Cognitive Neuropsychologist says: "Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism. It really doesn't matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author's imagination."

In addition to being a source of escapism, reading also provides knowledge, which in itself can bring a great amount of relief and comfort. Reading books that provide answers to the problems that have been plaguing your body and mind for weeks can be a soothing end to specific concerns.

Reading books can also provide inspiration, highlighting a host of exciting possibilities. Biographies help us to learn about the lengths and limitations of the human body and mind, whilst fantasy books spark our imagination and creativity.

If you are a parent, remember that the more your child sees you reading, the greater chance they will pick up a book, and so the whole family can benefit from reduced stress. So, whatever spurs you to pick up a book, enjoy the level of relaxation it brings you. What a calmer world we could live in if we all allowed ourselves a few minutes a day to focus on nothing but the words of our favourite stories.