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The Benefits of Reading for Mental Health and Stress Reduction

The Benefits of Reading for Mental Health and Stress Reduction

The Benefits of Reading for Health

As humans we feel stressed, alone, and a bunch of other feelings that lead to depression, if we submitted to them, and didn’t search for a solution.

Luckily, reading is one of the best solutions for the bad feelings we experience, it enhances our mental health, reduces stress if not eliminates it, and improves our empathy. So, Why Read? Because stories and books have their own charm and healing capabilities, with their characters, setting, course of action, and adventures that pull us into the plot. Therefore, instead of feeling depressed, and stressed, you will be happy, and eager to continue the story.

Reading is an inexpensive tool that brings many benefits to its reader, what are those benefits? Let’s find out.

 

Introduction to Reading as a Tool for Mental Health and Stress Reduction.

Whenever I feel lonely, anxiety creeps in, stressed, or cannot get my head out of something I go grab a book and start reading. Reading helps me escape from my life problems and gives me a better perspective of life.

When we read, we not only enjoy a story but we experience life from other perspectives which gives us better sight and understanding of everything around us. It’s like a magical wound that has the ability to make everything better.

There are studies show that reading enhances the quality of sleep, and mental health, reduces stress, sharpens mental acuity, strengthens the neural circuits and pathways of the brain, and lowers blood pressure. All of that if we read for 6 minutes only every day.

Now if you want to start reading but don’t know how, you could read, How to read a book? Where you will learn about the 3 ways of reading and some tips to help you start reading.

 

The Science Behind the Connection between Reading and Mental Health.

There are studies show that reading for only about 6 minutes a day enhances the quality of sleep, and mental health, reduces stress, and sharpens mental acuity.

Additionally, reading has the ability to lower the heart rate and ease the tension in the muscles. Furthermore, a study was conducted at the University of Sussex in 2009 and found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%.

You could read, What is the importance of reading? To learn more.

 

The Benefits of Reading for Stress Reduction.

Reading is the best medicine for mental health and stress reduction, as it provides us with a healthy escape from our life problems. It has the ability to take our minds off what is stressing and troubling us, because when we read, we dive into the action and adventures of the story, whether it takes us to a whole new world, a world of magic, where we fight monsters, dragons, ad demons, or into a romantic story, where the girl or boy find the true love. A novel consists of a series of events, during those events we imagine everything and live the life of its characters, experiencing their adventures and feelings.

Some may prefer watching films or TV series but they don’t have the same power, in novels and stories everything depends on your own imagination, it gives you the power to travel anywhere you want and experience new things, you’re the one in control, not anyone else.

When reading books or novels the characters become our friends like it is a part of our lives, this feeling of belonging is something that we don’t find anywhere, and all the stress we were experiencing will be eliminated, and we will forget about what is stressing us. So, yes, reading reduces stress significantly and gives you the opportunity to dive away into the events of the story.

According to a study conducted at the University of Sussex in 2009, reading can reduce stress by up to 68% when reading only for 6 minutes daily. Reading distracts us from what is truly stressing us in our lives, helping us relax and our heart rates to slow down, it even shows that reading is even better than having a cup of tea, listening to music, or going for a walk.

Reading is great for mental health and stress reduction, and as Dr David Lewis, Cognitive Neuropsychologist said: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.”

Reading doesn’t just reduce stress but it also helps us get rid of the feeling of loneliness, as we said above, the characters become part of your life, and the book or story becomes your friend. A study shows that “the interviewees could be viewed as self-medicating to alleviate feelings of loneliness, the most common medicine reported was books.”   

Furthermore, if you’re experiencing depression or anxiety when reading about a character sharing your struggles, will help you overcome your own, as you come to understand that you are not alone, and other people are going through the same thing. All you have to do is to say strong, dive into the book, and let it heal you and become your friend.

 

The Benefits of Reading for Anxiety and Depression.

Anxiety and stress are two of the worse feelings someone may experience, you feel like you are alone and the feeling of loneliness is eating you alive, nothing matters anymore, you cannot keep going anymore, the problems suffocating you, and life keeps throwing you with things you cannot bear, and you become on the verge of giving up.

However, reading about someone else going through the same things as you will help you understand that you are not alone, and you will come to learn how to face your demons and not give up and let them tear you apart. You are strong and can face them all on your own, that’s what stories help you understand.

As humans, we all experience those feelings, we just need to know that we are not alone and that we can overcome Anxiety and Depression by just reading about characters going through the same thing.

 

The Role of Reading in Developing Resilience and Coping Skills.

When reading stories we dive into its world, live the life of its characters, and experience their feelings, emotions, and adventures. If you are going through something or struggling with something and reading about a character facing the same struggles and problems, you will learn from its experience. Reading helps you understand how to deal with your problems and struggles, by learning from the book and how the characters overcome their problems and deal with them.

 

How Reading Can Improve Emotional Intelligence and Empathy?

Reading Can Improve Emotional Intelligence and Empathy, because when you read a book, you experience the feelings of characters and get to see life from other perspectives, not just your own, and you come to learn that humans are different, we are not all alike, we have different hobbies, likes, dislikes, interests, and so on.

Reading helps you understand and experience life from other perspectives and relate to them, which helps you understand people around you instead of judging them. When you read you are living the life of someone else, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, which helps you understand others and their struggles better.   

Researchers at The New School in New York City have found evidence that literary fiction “improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling.” Another study “drew a strong connection between reading fiction and better performance on widely used empathy and social acumen tests.”

Understanding others and their emotions makes us more caring and enhances our empathy toward them, which makes us better people.

Reading improves our mental health, reduces stress, reduces the feeling of loneliness, helps us overcome depression and anxiety, and improves our emotional Intelligence and Empathy. It helps us experience and learn from the characters’ lives, adventures, problems, struggles, challenges, and opinions. It is like putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

Reading helps us explore the life of a character, learn from its choices and challenges increase our empathy, and help us gain Emotional Intelligence, which is a great skill to acquire. Stories help us understand how other people think and feel, helping us accept and understand that we are not all alike and that it is okay to be different, our differences are what makes us unique.

Also reading about other cultures helps us understand the world more, for instance, reading Arabic Stories like Arabic stories for kids will help us understand the Arab culture and how they live their lives, their traditions, and norms. Also learning new languages expands our minds and enhances our memory and that could be done with the help of books by reading a learn Arabic book. Also reading about Islam helps us understand more about Muslims and their choices, you can find such books in the Madinah Media Islamic bookstore.

 

The Connection between Reading and Better Sleep.

What stands in our way of drifting to sleep is the problems and struggles we face; overthinking takes over and we keep thinking of what troubling us. But reading has a solution for that when reading we drift away in the story, forgetting about anything that stresses us or keeps us from sleeping.

Reading is a healthy escape for our minds and souls, that takes us away from the world we live in into a whole new world filled with wonders, magic, adventure, and more. When reading stories, you are the one in control, you get to imagine the world, characters, monsters, and more. So instead of focusing on what troubles your thoughts, you will be focusing on the story, leaving the harsh reality aside and living a new adventure filled with joy and fun, leading to better sleep and a healthier mind.

 

The Connection between Reading and Brain Health.

According to a study conducted at the University of Sussex in 2009, reading can reduce stress by up to 68% when reading only for 6 minutes daily. Reading distracts us from what is truly stressing us in our lives, helping us relax and our heart rates to slow down, it even shows that reading is even better than having a cup of tea, listening to music, or going for a walk.

Reading doesn’t just reduce stress but it also helps us get rid of the feeling of loneliness, as we said above, the characters become part of your life, and the book or story becomes your friend. A study shows that “the interviewees could be viewed as self-medicating to alleviate feelings of loneliness, the most common medicine reported was books.”   

 Reading is good for brain health because it exercises the brain and enhances memory and cognitive ability. Like muscles need to exercise so does the brain otherwise it becomes weaker and loses some of its performance, and with time the memory becomes weak.

A study conducted found that reading increases the level of connectivity, especially in the somatosensory cortex. Another research found that reading plays a main role in the development of the brain, it strengthens the neuronal networks and connections. Also, the study shows that the rate of mental decline was reduced by 32% when participating in reading and writing. While those with infrequent stimulating activity found that their decline was 48% faster than those with average activity.

Additionally, reading slows down memory loss and enhances our memory.

 

Conclusion: Harnessing the Power of Reading for Mental Health and Well-being.

Reading improves our mental health, reduces stress, reduces the feeling of loneliness, helps us overcome depression and anxiety, and improves our emotional Intelligence and Empathy. As it helps us experience and learn from the lives of the characters, their adventures, problems, struggles, challenges, and opinions. It is like putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Reading helps us accept and understand that we are not all alike and that it is okay to be different, our differences are what makes us unique.

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