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Reading for Stress Relief

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Everyone knows that reading is a great way to make you wiser but did you know that reading can be used for stress relief? It is true! In fact, reading can reduce your stress by 68 percent if you spend just 30 minutes every day. However, that isn’t the only reason you may want to pick up one of your favorite books.

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Benefits of Reading

Reading a book can be beneficial to both your mental and physical health. One of my favorite reasons for reading is to improve vocabulary but the list of benefits goes deeper. Here are some of my favorite benefits of reading.

Best way of relaxation.

Let’s be honest, there is a lot of technology available and many ways for us to entertain ourselves. So the current generation is getting further away from reading books traditionally. However, when it comes to ways to relax your mind, nothing beats a good old fashion hardcover or paperback book.

Curling up to a romance novel on the couch or soaking in the tub to one of your favorite books beats time on your laptop, phone, or tablet. You don’t have to worry about any notification interruptions or text, you can just read away.

It can make you smarter.

If you aren’t convinced all ready to read a book simply as a way to help when you are stressed and need to relax, then you may want to pick up a book to improve your intelligence.

Studies have shown that reading has always been a great way to boost one’s focus and memory but it also enhances your vocabulary and has the ability to improve your decision-making.

It improves your memory

Another one of my favorite benefits of reading and the main reason I got back into this very beneficial habit is that reading requires you to remember a lot of things. You have to remember characters in the story, the main plot of the story as well as any subplots.

All this memory recalling is creating new synapses in your brain as well as strengthening your old ones. For people with short-term memory issues like myself, this can be a very beneficial way to help improve your memory as well as your ability to recall things.

It improves your writing skills.

When you read a book you are being exposed to other author’s writing styles, voices, forms, and genres of writing, allowing your writing to grow and improve. I was once told that as you read and expose yourself to writers with more extensive vocabulary than your own it helps you learn how to better pronounce words as well.

It helps you sleep.

As I have already mentioned, reading has the ability to help relax your body and mind. But did you know that it is very useful to help put your mind at ease when it is time to lie down?

Electronic devices such as tablets, computers, and cell phones, have blue lights that can affect your ability to enter deep sleep. This is because it blocks your body’s ability to produce melatonin. So staring at bright screens for hours before bed isn’t ideal.

However, reading a book an hour before bed is a great way to give your brain time enough to get sleepy so you can fall asleep faster.

It increases empathy.

A study in 2013 showed that reading fiction has the ability to increase our empathetic skills over time as the reader becomes emotionally transported into the story. When you read a good fiction book, it will help you enhance your ability to relate to a person’s emotions and identify how to respond to their given situation.

Reading for Stress Relief

reading for stress relief

Research has shown that reading a book has the ability to slow down your heartbeat as well as soothe your muscle tension. But it also seems that we should take advantage of reading for stress relief.

A 2009 study at the University of Sussex showed that reading may reduce stress up to 68% and can even be more effective than other relaxing activities such as listening to music or drinking tea.

Reading can be a great distraction from the things that cause you distress. As you read you find yourself engaged in a literary world and you can be distracted for hours.

All you have to do is find any type of literature whether it be a book or magazine of your choice and set some time aside each day. Here are a few of my favorite tips to help make reading more enjoyable.

Reading for Stress Relief Tips

Pick a Quiet Place

Not everyone need’s a quiet environment when they read or study. As a kid I liked to have music playing when I read a book.

However, since the idea of reading a book, in this case, is to relax, the ideal environment would be a place free from noise or distractions. If it is difficult to find a place to yourself, try reading while taking a nice bath, or wait until the kiddos go to sleep.

Choose a Book Right for You

Reading is something to be enjoyed, however, not everyone enjoys reading the same things. I love to read horror books and I am not much into romance novels but some may find that to be the best genre, although strangely I love watching Romance movies very much.

What I love to read and what makes me relax may not work for you. The point is to choose what you like even if it is on your favorite hobby, so you can enjoy yourself.

How to Make Reading Enjoyable?

Want to start reading again? However, you just don’t find it as enjoyable as you did when you were a kid or you simply hate it. Try these tips!
  • Start with Subjects You Like – As a kid, I found reading a bit more enjoyable, however as I got older I didn’t enjoy it as much. I discovered my taste changed. If you have trouble reading, try easing into reading again by starting with genres you already know you enjoy.
  • Be Patient – You may feel bad because you want to read more or you may even want to try to read more skilled books, don’t beat yourself up. Reading is still beneficial to you no matter how much you read or what you read.
  • Set Time Aside – Find a quiet, comfortable, enjoyable space in your home (if possible) to read and set a time aside to read. I have a spot in my living room with a nice view of the mountains that is cozy and I can read there and look out and listen to the seagulls. If you make the experience enjoyable it will help make reading more enjoyable. Maybe you like to drink a nice cup of coffee while you read.
  • Start Small – If you struggle with wanting to read or finding something to read, try reading smaller items like a blog post, magazines, etc. Or simply make a smaller goal for the day (IE. read one page, read 10 minutes).
  • Practice Make Perfect! – Lastly, reading like all habits take time to get used to. So read a bit every day and you will slowly ease your way back into it.

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Reading for Stress Relief

Reading can be a great way to relieve stress because it helps you escape the realities of your lives. It also provides many different benefits that make reading something we should set a little time aside each day to enjoy.

Since reading is something to be enjoyed and not something all of us may enjoy, there are other ways you can enjoy reading. Maybe you prefer reading on your tablet, just be sure to take precautions so that your electronics don’t interfere with your sleep schedule.

Remember to choose an environment that is quiet and free from distractions to be able to get the most enjoyment from reading. Also, choose something that you enjoy reading.

If you are like many of us who want to read but don’t find it enjoyable, don’t beat yourself up. Start small and be patient with yourself.

Reading like most habits takes time for some of us but if you put a little extra effort into it each day you too may find reading much more enjoyable.

Do you use reading as a way to relieve stress? What is your favorite genre to read when you feel stressed?

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4 thoughts on “Reading for Stress Relief”

  1. I have am almost 3 year old and I am so grateful that the last few months I have been able to get back to reading again.  Taking care of my LO and being a single mom did not give me much time…or will…to read.  I use to be a book a week person!  I totally agree that by being able to pick up a book and read my stress level has gone down. I can also tell when I read to my LO that she physically calms and it is easier for her to focus on a task afterwards!  I did not know that fiction increased empathy but that makes total sense!

    Thanks for this wonder article!  Happy mothering!


    1. I miss having a little one around to read to and I agree it does help them focus, my youngest is 11. I am happy you have gotten back into reading as it is very beneficial. I  didn’t know about the empathy thing years ago either but when I found out about it, I too felt like it made sense. You are very welcome, and happy mothering to you as well. Be safe and take care mommy!

  2. Hello there! This is an amazing review you have got here. I am sure these quality informations in this post will be beneficial to anyone who come across it. I have been practicing the reading culture since I was a kid, to the extent I read books when I’m angry but today I can proudly say that the main reason for my retentive memory is because of that culture.

    1. Thank you for the kind words Joy, I appreciate it! I believe you are absolutely right in your observation. I believe my increase in memory retention has come from my increase in reading as well and I appreciate reading due to this. I encourage anyone who wants to benefit from reading to read at least 15 minutes or more a day. Thanks for your comment!

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