Mental Health and Reading Books: Benefits That Are Often Ignored

Mental Health

The hobby of reading books is gradually losing its popularity as people come up with newer and more advanced ways to keep themselves entertained. However, various research has shown that there is a positive association between reading books and improvement in the mental health and well-being of a person.

Reading books can significantly improve a person’s mental health and well-being. Here are some mental and physical benefits of reading books.

Reading books helps reduce stress

Escaping into the world of books and stories can help people relax their mind and muscles and lower their heart rate. Narrative absorption, the experience of being immersed in a book, can significantly enhance a person’s well-being, according to various studies.

Research has also shown that reading a book can be better at reducing stress than music, drinking a cup of tea, going for a walk, and playing video games, while it can be just as effective in lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress as yoga and humour.

Reading books improves mental health

A reduction in stress due to reading books will help to improve a person’s mental health. Books can help a person relax and gain inner peace and tranquility. Self help books have also been proven to help people suffering from mood disorders and certain mild mental illnesses.

It helps to reduce feelings of depression

People suffering from depression can feel separated and alienated. Books can give them a sense of belonging as they relate to the characters of the story. Books also act as a form of escape and help people forget about their own worries for at least some time.

Reading helps to improve memory and focus

Reading is an exercise for the brain. The brain’s intricate network of circuits and messages is activated during reading. Those networks get more robust and sophisticated as a person’s reading comprehension improves. This, in turn, helps to improve memory. Reading a book also helps to improve a person’s attention and focus as they get immersed in a book.

Reading helps improve sleep

Reading books can significantly improve a person’s quality of sleep. Good sleep is important for the overall well-being and health of a person. As reading can help a person relax, it can also help them fall asleep.

It improves the ability to empathize

Research has shown that people who read regularly are more empathetic. They can understand others’ beliefs, feelings, and thoughts better, and so they have a better understanding of the ‘Theory of Mind’. Subsequent studies on the effect of literature on empathy revealed that reading fiction momentarily increased empathy.

Other benefits

Reading can enhance a person’s comprehension, critical thinking, and analytical skills. It can improve knowledge and writing skills and, hence, make a person smarter. It can also reduce the symptoms of dementia.

Therefore, reading books can have significant benefits for a person’s mental health and well-being. It’s never too late to start reading!

About The Author

Author: MP Bench

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