Because we have so much "important" reading in our everyday lives, such as the newspaper, texts, road signs, emails, and bills, many of us take the simple act of reading for granted. But how often do we read for pleasure?
So, as it was National Read a Book Day earlier this week, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate by giving you some mental health benefits of reading.
Here are just a few of the benefits of reading:
1. Reading reduces stress
Picking up a book can help us escape from reality and take us out of the present moment. A 2009 research study, conducted at the University of Sussex found that reading can lower stress by 68 per cent! They discovered that it is more effective than other relaxation techniques such as listening to music and having a cup of tea.
2. Reading helps your ability to empathise
It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you read a book, but studies have shown that reading may help you better understand the feelings and behaviours of others.
3. Reading can be used as therapy
Otherwise known as bibliotherapy where reading books, especially literature, can help with things like anxiety, grief and depression. Reading books can help you feel more connected and allows your imagination to become more engaged as you connect emotionally with the characters which can reflect your own feelings and problems.
4. Reading helps you fall to sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential to maintain your mental health and wellbeing so creating a bedtime routine, like reading before bed, signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and get some rest. It’s a great alternative to screen time too!
5. Reading helps your brain grow!
Reading on a daily basis helps to boost memory function by giving your brain a good exercise. Memory function declines with age, but reading consistently can help to avoid this by keeping our minds sharper for longer.
So, no matter where you do it or what genre you choose, consider reading more to improve your mental health and wellbeing! What have you got to lose?