Reading and Mental Health

There’s no doubt that the last two years have been   stressful for many people and now that the world is starting to getting back to some kind of normalcy, life once again is moving ahead at full speed, with all the stressors that go along with it.

So how do we deal with all of this stress? To avoid burnout, it’s important  to practice self care. For many, the idea of self-care revolves  around more sleep, eating better, exercising, and getting outside. But did you know that reading is a great stress reliever?  We already know that reading can make you smarter, but here are other benefits that one can get from reading.

Reading Reduces Stress

Picking up a book can take us out of the moment and help our minds escape.  It has the potential to help one relax by lowering the heart rate and easing muscle tension while at the same time can help stop overthinking and feelings of anxiety and. Another study found that reading for just half and hour could reduce stress as much practicing yoga or meditating for the same amount of time.


Reading Before Bed Can Help You Sleep Better

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining good overall health and recharging the body for the the next day. But it isn’t always that easy. As soon as your head hits the pillows, you start thinking about to do lists, things you forgot to do and  and before you know it, it’s time to get up. Having a bedtime routine that includes reading can help achieve better, more restful sleep. Putting down devices and picking up a book -  not an e-reader or tablet which can actually prevent sleep due to the blue light that they emit -  can help you wind down and relax before bed.

Builds Up Your Brain

Reading is really like taking your brain to the gym. It works out all of those important muscles that are needed to help you be at your best mentally. Keeping your mind active with reading makes your brain stronger.

Reading can be Therapeutic
Reading can be used as therapy and books have the potential to help people through difficult situations and feelings. Non clinical bibliotherapy combines reading and talking about books, stories, poetry and music to achieve a more positive sense of wellness.

Markham Public Library has a non clinical Bibliotherapy program called Shared Reading that allows for people to connect with others through books while at the same time nurturing a sense of wellbeing.

Reading can Help Teach Empathy

The first week in May recognizes CAMH Mental Health Week and this year’s theme is Empathy. Empathy is being able to know how someone else is feeling, even when you aren't in the same situation. It’s having the ability to ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It may not be the first thing one think of when thinking about reading but studies have shown that reading can help one to better understand other people’s feelings.

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