Avid readers already know it’s wonderful to spend an afternoon curled up with a favorite book, but did you know that reading can also be beneficial to your health?
Reading can be a great way to relax and relieve some stress. Keep reading to find out more!
Is Reading Relaxing?
Studies have shown that reading for just 30 minutes per day can reduce your stress level as much as 68%. Not only does reading a good book help with relaxation, it can also help you sleep at night, boost your brain power, fight depression, and helps with social skills.
How Does Reading Relax Me?
Research has found that losing yourself in a good book is a more effective method of relaxing than going for a walk in a park, or turning on your favorite calming music. As you read your heart rate actually slows down and your body relaxes. It’s even been shown to lower your blood pressure!
Reading a book is kind of like taking a short vacation, but from the comfort of your couch.
As you sink into a good story, or read about a person or event of interest you forget about the real world for a while, which can be helpful if you’re stressed or worried about something.
What Should I Read to Relax The Most?
When you’re choosing a book to read to help you relax it’s important to choose a book that interests you. Is there a topic you want to learn more about? Do you love history? Maybe you like fantasy or thrillers? It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as it’s something that you’re excited about reading.
Don’t choose books that could cause you further stress or anxiety. If horror novels keep you up at night, then they’re probably not going to help you relax. Likewise, if your worried about something in the news then you might not want to read articles about current events.
Is Reading Good for Mental Health?
Yes! Reading is known to help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Taking the time to relax and read a book is a great way to practice self-care.
There’s even a field of psychology called bibliotherapy in which therapists can recommend books for you to read to help guide you through life changing situations like the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, or even PTSD.
Reading about someone, fictional or non-fictional, who is going through similar circumstances as those you are experiencing in your own life can help you work through periods of depression or anxiety.
5 Health Benefits of Reading
- Reading Can Help Improve Your Concentration
Reading can help you improve your concentration by keeping your attention focused on the book in front of you.
When you read make sure to turn off your television and silence the notifications on your cell phone so you can disconnect from your social media accounts. Fully concentrating on your book will not only make sure that you absorb everything you’re reading, it will also help you to re-learn how to focus on one thing at a time.
- Reading Before Bed Helps You Sleep
Do you find that you’re having trouble falling to sleep at night? The relaxing effect brought on by reading can help you wind down and get ready for bed. Readers often get up to an hour and a half more sleep per week than people who don’t read.
One of the most common things that keep people up at night is the inability to “turn off” their thoughts. Oftentimes when you’re trying to sleep your mind is racing with things you’re worried about, or your to-do list, or things you may have forgotten to do. Reading before bed can help clear your mind and make it easier for you to fall asleep.
- Reading Helps Preserve Brain Function
Regular reading has been shown to slow cognitive decline and memory loss by as much as 30% . People who make time for reading are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as they age because they are constantly stimulating their brain and helping to avoid creating the lesions and neural tangles that have been shown to result in memory lapses.
- Reading Can Help Build Your Social Skills
As you read a book you’re developing a relationship with the characters who are involved in the story. If the book is good, you grow to care about those characters and worry about what might happen to them. You can often relate to the way they’re feeling, and put yourself in their shoes.
Learning to emphasize with the characters in your book can also help you to better empathize with the people you socialize with. You’ll be able to be a better friend because you’ll be able to see things from their point of view.
Reading also helps people to bond over shared interests. It’s likely that your friends are your friends because you have some common interests. If your friends like to read the same things you like to read, then there’s no better way to bond than by discussing a book you’ve both read. You may find you have different viewpoints on certain plot points, or characters. Discussing a loved book with a friend can help bring new depth and meaning to both your friendship and the story!
- Reading Makes You Smarter
Whether you’re reading a non-fiction book to learn more about a topic or event or you’re reading a work of fiction, you’re probably learning something new while you’re reading. Reading enhances your vocabulary, enhances your knowledge, and keeps you learning throughout your life.
Whether you’ve picked up a book on world history because you want to learn more about a specific place or culture or you’ve come across a word you’ve never heard before and you decide to look it up you’re taking in new information based on something you’ve read.
It’s never been easier to pick up a new book than it is today. Go to the library, your corner bookstore, or order a new book online, you’ll be surprised at the benefits you’ll find inside!