Exploring The Mental Health Benefits Of Reading
We know the benefits of reading — they do have a powerful transformation in our mental health. Explore the benefits of all types of reading and add new ways to read, from audiobooks to Instagram bookclubs.
We’ve talked about here how the pandemic is taking its toll on our mental health and the ‘languishing’ feeling that uncertainty and unease are leaving so many of us adrift and not functioning at full capacity.
Reading content around these topics is a powerful tool to help us get to know how to deal with this ‘new’ reality. NHS even pointed back in 2008 that some books have been ‘prescribed’ to patients dealing with mental health issues. Let’s explore the benefits of reading for mental health and ways you can do it.
The Benefits of Reading
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What do we really get from ready books? It goes well beyond leisure time and enjoyment. Reading books benefits both your physical and mental health. If one picks up the habit of reading regularly, these benefits can last a lifetime. Let’s check what are they?
It Reduces Stress
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A 2009 study researched the effects yoga and humor have on people in a science program in the United States. The study found that 30 minutes of reading lowered stress levels, blood pressure, and heart rates — the same way yoga and humor did.
It Improves Sleep
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The blue light emitted by screens from smartphones, computers, and TVs sends the message to the brain that it’s time to “stay awake”. Switching a reading from a paper book instead of reading on a screen (that emits this type of light) before bedtime prepares the brain for a good night’s rest.
You Learn New Vocabulary
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When reading a book, we tend to be exposed to new words in a different context we might have in day-to-day life. Developing a large vocabulary improves one’s ability to communicate better and more precisely and develop soft skills.
It Strengthens The Brain
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A study measured how reading affects the brain. The researchers have found that reading involves complex structures in the brain, and with time, those structures become more substantial and more sophisticated — literally changing your mind.
How To Read More
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If you wish to introduce (or re-introduce) the habit of reading into your life, there are a few easy ways you can do it:
- Make reading a priority- Set up specific times every day for reading your favorite book.
- Diversify genres- If you love novels, why not trying sci-fi or self-help books?
- Try audiobooks- A perfect option for those who don’t have time to go through a whole book.
- Join a book club- There are many book clubs now, even on Instagram. Try @betweentobooks and @rebelbookclub.