Reading is what upgrades your thoughts and unveils the maskedFizza Junaid
There is little discussion over whether literature expands your mind – despite recent controversies about which types of books should be on the shelves of libraries and schools. But the most important question that needs discussion is does reading for mental health really works, and how reading benefits your mental health and wellness.
Studies are constantly proving the impact of reading for mental health and wellness. Numerous researchers have reported pieces of evidence of promising mental health and wellness benefits. Whether you are reading alone or with others, you can find meaning and connection between pages that boost your mental health and wellness. The article highlights numerous points to answer how reading benefits your mental health and wellness.
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7 Ways – How Reading Benefits Your Mental Health and Wellness
You might be underestimating the impacts reading can have on your overall wellness. It can change and enrich your life in aspects you wouldn’t think of. Reading can have everlasting effects on your mental, spiritual, and physical health. People who have a tendency to read from a very young age can get continuous advantages till their senior years. However, it’s never too late to develop a good habit that helps in numerous ways.
Let’s have a look at some of the prominent benefits reading draws on our mental state:
1. Reading for Mental Health Can Also Be a Pleasure
When you start reading a good book it hooks you to learn more. It is often hard to put down an interesting and captivating story or a piece of history. When you go through a book of your interests you don’t really estimate the time and become an absorber. Often people feel sad when they move to the end of a good literature and are eager to get on its the next part or something relevant. Reading is a magical feeling and in addition to numerous benefits, it’s a pleasure.
2. Reading Reduces Stress Levels and Boosts Mental Health and Wellness
Indulging yourself in an interesting book can reduce your stress levels. Research proved that reading at least 6 minutes each day can reduce your stress by up to 60%. It can regulate your heart rate, alter your state of mind, and ease muscle tension. Numerous studies have also proved that reading has a better effect on stress than having a cup of tea, listening to music, playing video games, or going for a walk.
3. Reading Prevents Memory Loss and Works Your Brain
Making cognitive activities your habit like reading can slow down your memory loss. When a study compared readers with non-readers, the readers showed better memory than the ones who did not take part in mentally stimulating activities. A similar study found that the mental decline rate was 32% less among people engaged in writing and reading. However, those having infrequent stimulating activity had a 48% fast decline rate.
4. Reading Can Improve Your Learning and Make You Smarter
Have you ever noticed that after reading a book you feel smarter? It’s because you learn new things, understand yourself better, and experience different cultures. Studies proved that reading makes a person smarter. When you expose yourself to written information, it delivers general knowledge, verbal skills, and a higher vocabulary. Researchers have proved a prominent difference between people who often read and those who don’t.
Are looking for ways to reduce your stress levels and want to educate yourself? Become smarter and more empathetic with interesting literature pieces. Mental health is a crucial part of improving your overall wellness. Reading is one of the leading ways to achieve your wellness goal.
5. Reading Assists to Evolve Empathy for Others
You may be thinking about how reading helps a person in developing a soft corner for others. The formula is very simple – when people read specifically fiction and history, they become more empathetic. They actually start understanding other people’s feelings, thoughts, and beliefs more keenly which is called the theory of mind.
6. Reading Helps You Escape from the Real World
Reading acts as a stress relieving medicine that results in providing an escape from the worries of the real world. You can clearly feel this difference after reading a few pages of your favorite book. It helps in forgetting the outer world by creating an imaginative and different world around. Studies showed that escapism is much more complex than just reading for entertainment and to feel light-hearted. However, it did show that people established transformative change processes similar to the way they interact with others and this world.
7. Reading Provides Teenagers Significant Insights into Being an Adult
Being an adult, itself is tricky, numerous things change, and exploring your self-identity is very important during this time. numerous studies have proved that reading has a few prominent benefits for teenagers:
- Enhances academic performance
- Personal development and social engagement
- Fiction helps deliver significant insights into adult relationships
- Provides cultural identity and personal values
- Develops the mindset and allows understanding of different emotions
Bibliotherapy – An Easy and Accessible Mental Health Treatment
It is a specific intervention and therapeutic treatment where reading material is used to treat mental health and wellness. Sometimes the treatment is combined with other inventions and talking therapies. The material used in bibliotherapy includes books to build awareness about mental health conditions. it also includes some other books explaining strategies and techniques like CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) and mindfulness.
Life Expectancy and Quality of Life
Few years back a study was performed to check the effects of reading. It was concluded that readers are 20% more likely to overcome depression in comparison to non-readers. The same study proved one in every five readers reported that reading helped them overcome loneliness. Moreover, people who do not own a book are twice as likely to interact with low mental well-being.
Reading establishes a direct link to greater self-esteem, self-confidence, and job prospects, and helps in escaping the poverty cycle. When people attain a certain level of reading ability and comprehension – they are more likely to cross the autonomy threshold. At this point, their actions and choices become overriding factors in regulating their life chances. Hence, they are more tend to overcome the circumstances that a lower literacy level can impose on them.
Literacy is intricately linked with quality of life and expectancy:
- People who have a poor level of literacy are more likely to have low incomes and unemployment alongside poor health behaviors. Which results in low life expectancy.
- Low incomes come with the risks of higher mortality. WHO found that children of low-income countries have 34 years shorter life spans (on average) than children in higher-income countries.
Practical Tips – How You Can Use Reading for Mental Health
Here are some practical tips to understand how you can get help from reading for mental health and wellness:
Include Reading into Your Routine
One of the most essential tricks to prioritize your mental health is – getting some quality time aside for yourself. This way you actually give yourself permission to spend some time doing something relevant only to you. You can pair this time with reading. You can set the time as per your convenience, it can be either 10 minutes in the early morning or 20 minutes before going to bed.
Reading with Others
Reading with others or reading to others – both can be advantageous. When you read with others it makes a connection and brings different perspectives to one place. You can also communicate different aspects of similar events with your fellow readers. Similarly, when you read to others you actually transfer and memorize material at the same time.
Reading in Book Clubs
Book clubs can be a perfect way to meet and share your books and thoughts with other people. Where you can share focus and establish social interactions. This is beneficial, particularly for those who find unpredictable social situations uncomfortable and challenging. This way you can also start prioritizing reading by knowing that you are going to read something new in the next session.
There are numerous local libraries running book clubs. You can also easily create your informal book club by connecting few colleagues or friends. Also, you can run your book club in person or virtually. Isn’t it interesting?
When you develop a habit of reading books, other than shaping your mental health it also boosts your creativity, resulting in overall wellness. To learn more about the tips to boost your creative wellness, click here and take a few minutes to read for better health and overall wellbeing.
What if You Don’t Like Reading?
Here comes a very important question, what if you do not like reading? Or how you can develop your interest in reading? It’s completely okay if you do not like reading. But if you consider developing the habit of reading it can be beneficial for your mental health and wellness. There is no need to worry as you can start in a very simple way.
Let’s have a look at a few simple ways to get ease into reading:
- Swap one round of your screen time or phone time with a few minutes of reading each day
- Get some books on the topics you find attractive or are curious about
- Research the reading pattern or interests of the people you admire and read those topics to feel connected with your parents, friends, celebrities, etc.
- Make it a routine – sip your favorite drink while reading or read before going to sleep
Frequently Asked Questions
Why reading for mental health is beneficial?
Reading can help in numerous aspects:
It can reduce your stress level
It can make you more imaginative
It can boost the level of your smartness
It provides an opportunity to understand multiple perspectives
It can help us get a healthy escape from the real world
It can improve our cognitive skills
You can have a look at the details given above for more information. Also to get an answer of how reading benefits your mental health and wellness.
Does reading help to relax your mind?
Yes reading provides an escape and establishes an interesting world for you. This way you can not only improve your intellect but also make your mind stress-free, especially through fiction.