Reading and Stress Relief

Reading is quite a common pastime. It allows us to escape from reality, giving us a break from our hectic lives. But it also opens doors to new possibilities and a plethora of learning opportunities, in nearly any subject that may interest you.

No matter what you choose to read, and why you choose to read it, there is at least one thing in common, reading provides stress relief and relaxation.

Research actually shows that reading is the most effective way to relieve stress. In as little as 6 minutes, you can reduce your stress levels by 68% while also slowing your heart rate, easing muscle tension, and relaxing your mind.

Reading has been found to be more effective than listening to music, having a cup of tea or coffee, and more effective than going for a walk.

Picking up a book, whether paper or electronic, literally distracts your mind from the mundane tasks, the daily stress, and all the worries that can cause tension in your life.

By opening a book and therefore your mind, you begin to engage in your imagination and creativity. You actually enter into a state of altered consciousness. And, as you continue to read, you develop empathy for the characters, you become entwined with their story, and you become very invested in the outcome of the story. What a perfect way to take a break and relax from whatever may be stressing you in your life!

At times, you may realize that whatever is troubling or stressing you is actually something small and insignificant compared to what is going on to the characters in your book. And, if the book is especially well written and enticing, you may find yourself continuing to think about the story after you have put it down, which only continues the stress relieving qualities.

To really get the most stress relief from reading, follow these easy steps.

  • Set aside at least 6 minutes at a time. This is the length of time that it takes to begin the stress relieving properties of reading.
  • Find a topic, genre, or author that excites you. This will help to build a connection and improve upon your excitement when it comes time to pick up your book.
  • Try reading before bed to help improve your sleep quality by allowing your mind to disengage from your day or your remaining “to-do list.” But if you can, choose paper books over electronic versions to avoid the blue light emitted from a screen as this may disrupt your sleep cycles.
  • Stay focused on the story, don’t try to do multiple things at once, and pick a quiet place.
  • Join a book club, whether in person or virtual, sharing a story can enhance the stress relieving capabilities of reading. Not only are you delving deeper into the story, but you are creating social connections around a healthy hobby.
  • Once you are done, let that portion of the story you read soak in.

Next time you are feeling a bit stressed, try opening up a book. When it comes to reading, the possibilities are endless.

Jan 10, 2021

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