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Reducing Anxiety & Stress:The Joys of a Good book




When did you last sit down to read a good book? Maybe it was recently, but so often it’s not an activity on our priority list. Yet, it offers so many benefits for our overall wellbeing.


A review of relevant studies during the COVID 19 pandemic found that, whether it be selected books or other types of literature, reading was an effective therapeutic tool for improving mental health, especially in the areas of stress, anxiety, depression and sleep difficulties (1)


Additionally, research undertaken with students, studying high pressure health science degrees, found that engagement with reading (or yoga) had a significant effect on reducing levels of stress (2). The research found that just 30 minutes of reading successfully lowered heart rate, blood pressure and provided an effective tool for stress management.


These studies are all great, but exploring the benefits of reading doesn’t have to be part of a broader or formalised therapeutic journey. Engaging in and enjoying a ‘good read’ can become a feature of your own personal self-care routine, whoever and wherever you are.


In this respect - Other Potential benefits include -


FLEXIBILITY:


Easy to carry or pop in your bag. A book is easy luggage!


A spare 2 hours or just 20 minutes on the bus. Reading a book is an activity for both!


There are thousands of available books to choose from, so find one that suits your interest or try something new!


Explore new and pre-loved books; visit your local library; borrow and swap books with friends, colleagues or a local Street Library. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune, and can even be cost-free!


CONNECTEDNESS:


Become part of a reading group or book club :)


Share with your friends “I’ve just read this great book”...... :)


Read with your children, nieces or nephews, creating lifelong memories :)


Learn new ideas, facts or outlooks that enhance your conversational skills :)


All these benefits sit alongside the sheer enjoyment of a good book.

Whatever a ‘good book’ means to you, go grab one and enjoy!




References:


(1) Monroy-Fraustro, D., Maldonado-Castellanos. I., Aboites-Molina, M., Rodríguez, S., Sueiras, P., Altamirano-Bustamante, N. F., de Hoyos-Bermea, A., & Altamirano-Bustamante, M. M. (2021). Bibliotherapy as a Non-pharmaceutical Intervention to Enhance Mental Health in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Mixed-Methods Systematic Review and Bioethical Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Public Health, 9, 629872–629872. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.629872


(2) Rizzolo. D., Simpkins. S., Pinto Zipp. G., Stiskal. D. (2009). Stress Management Strategies for Students: The Immediate Effects of Yoga, Humor, and Reading on Stress. Journal of College Teaching and Learning. https://doi.org/10.19030/tlc.v6i8.1117









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