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How Reading Can Help You Destress

Stress relief comes in many forms: watching TV shows or movies, eating a favorite food, being artistic, exercising, and the list goes on. However, recent scientific studies have discovered one more activity to be added to that list: reading.

Reading is the best way to relax, and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two-thirds.

It’s also a more efficient method of calming nerves because reading requires concentration, which distracts the mind and eases tension. Psychologists proved this by increasing a group of volunteers’ heart rates through tests and exercises and then tried different relaxation methods. Results showed that reading reduced stress by 68%, making it the most successful one. Other methods included listening to music, having a cup of tea or coffee, and taking a walk. Playing video games was also attempted, but left the volunteers with higher heart rates than they started the experiment with.

“Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism.” –Dr. Lewis, test conductor

This is true for many. Whether it’s due to personal issues, stress at school or work, or a more widespread problem, there’s enough stress going around for everyone, even though no one wants it.

“It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination. This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.” –Dr. Lewis, continued

As a self-proclaimed bibliophile and a girl that would rather read than scroll through Twitter, I can agree with Lewis’ statement. When I find a good book, I get absorbed, and therefore my own troubles are forgotten because I’m focused on another life, another world, another adventure.

Some people might say that they don’t have time to read. Reading on the bus, during a lunch break, or for a few minutes before bed can help with that. Other people might not know what to read. I can help with that. I read Young Adult books, so I can give a few recommendations. If Young Adult isn’t your cup of tea, this website might help.

Books I recommend:

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (fantasy, Beauty and the Beast retelling)
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (fantasy, romance)
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (fantasy)
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (fantasy, historical fiction)
  • The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan (urban fantasy, mythology)
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (fantasy)
  • Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (fantasy)
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (contemporary/romance)
  • Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton (contemporary, thriller)
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (urban fantasy, paranormal)
  • Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember (fantasy, romance)
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (urban fantasy, historical fiction)

Happy reading!

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Olivia Hensley
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I'm a 16-year-old girl living in the United States. I love reading, photography, and traveling, although I'm still learning photography and haven't done much traveling yet. I spend most of my free time reading Young Adult books or talking about them on my blog. I love Disney, the 2007 Hairspray, summer, and unicorns.

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