Most of us have encountered feelings of stress or anxiety in some stage of our lives. A go-to activity for many is reading. Explore our blog post to learn more about how reading can boost your mental health.
According to recent statistics from the mental health charity Mind, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Many people have encountered feelings of stress or anxiety in some stage of our lives, and a go-to activity to help alleviate these feelings for many is reading. Many of us love to read during the evenings and follow book groups on social media, where people review books they’ve read and give others advice on what to read next. Through different social platforms such as this, not only can reading be a hobby for some people; it can also feel like being part of a wider community, which is important in maintaining good mental wellbeing.
Did you know that the NHS now recommends using services such as the Reading Well book prescription service when going through times of stress, depression and anxiety? The books are chosen and prescribed by health experts, meaning you are highly likely to benefit from reading the books prescribed.
Here are five ways in which reading can boost your mental health.
According to research carried out by The University of Sussex, reading for as little as 6 minutes per day can reduce stress levels by 68%. The study stated that the distraction and escapism that reading brings helps to ease the tensions in the muscles and heart.
Helps stimulate the brain
Studies show that reading leads to good brain health in old age. Just like the heart, the brain as a muscle is stimulated through reading which helps it function to its fullest capacity. Reading has also been linked to reducing the risk of developing dementia. My grandad admits that he likes to read every day and keep his mind healthy by taking part in activities put on by his care home. At 97 years old, his short-term and long-term memory is fantastic; what an achievement and what a role model!
Helps with relaxation
The subject you are reading about can bring inner peace and tranquility as well as lowering blood pressure over time by reducing overall stress. This sense of calm can also help bring on a more natural, deeper sleep. Reading before bed helps your body to wind down and keeps your eyes away from phone screens which can disrupt your natural sleeping patterns.
Constantly educating yourself
Reading helps us to understand different ways of life. This understanding enables us to be more understanding and emphatic of others. Whatever subject you can think of, there is a book out there available. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, reading can help expand your knowledge base and learn more about the world we live in.
Can help you cope with depressive feelings
Research has shown that reading can reduce depressive feelings. When we read stories of heartbreak, grief and loss, we are usually lying safely in our beds or maybe travelling. This reinforces our feelings of security and reminds us that we are often in a much better place than we may have initially thought. Reading can help provide some much-needed escapism from the real world, by losing yourself in a great story. When you get home from work tonight, lay back, turn off your phone (and the TV), try reading a book and take note of how this makes you feel.
Explore our collection of children’s books suitable for a range of ages here.
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