5 Ways Reading Can Improve Mental Health

We all know that books are entertaining. It is a great escape from the realities that we face every day. We get a lot of benefits from it – it helps us learn valuable lessons and takes us to places we've never set foot in before. But, did you know that books can also help your brain health-wise?

You read that right! Maintaining good reading habits can also keep your brain and overall mindset healthy. It is a really great activity for mental health patients. In fact, some doctors have even been prescribing it to their patients with mental health issues.

It would be very handy to know how reading could improve mental health, especially if you or a loved one needs the help. So, we did our research and compiled this list for you. Hopefully, you can pick up a few tips to use or share with others.

1. Reading is a stress-reliever.

A recent study by the University of Sussex found out that it is a better and faster stress-reliever compared to any other activity. You only need to indulge in a good book for 6 minutes to lower your stress levels by 69%! It eases the tension in your muscles and slows down your heart rate. Plus, the stories you read about distract you and allows you to forget your stressors, even just for a short while. It is definitely a healthier alternative to drinking that pint of cold beer!

2. It also allows you to sleep better at night.

Getting good quality of sleep for long hours has a great effect on your overall health. If you read a few chapters before you sleep, your stress levels will be decreased and you can easily transition to your peaceful slumber. When you wake up, you can seize the day in a happier disposition and healthier body.

3. It can help you be more empathetic.

Empathy is one of the most important skills that our parents teach us. It is the ability to understand the feelings of other people and relate with them better. Lack of this skill might destroy relationships and the effects might take a toll on your mental health.

If you think you are having problems with empathizing with others, pick up a good book. Follow the adventures of the characters and try to understand how they felt given the circumstances in the plot. Make this a habit and carry it outside of your novel. You’ll see that you can relate to people better, be open to more perspectives, and build better relationships.

4. Reading reduces your chances of getting Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative brain condition that weakens our brain capabilities as we age. It starts with forgetting memories and, sadly, goes downhill from there.

But, incorporating reading in your day-to-day routine can help reduce your risk of this disease. Following a narrative’s train of thought and remembering important details exercises the brain’s memory muscles - keeping your memory and thinking skills sharp as ever.

5. It effectively empowers those with anxiety and depression.

No matter what your personality may be, there is always a character from a book you can relate to. Following their stories and seeing how they fight through the problems thrown at them shifts your thoughts. Instead of musing about your fears and problems, you entertain thoughts of motivation and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It empowers you to overcome your own obstacles and you realize that if a fictional hero can do it, you can do it too.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s spread the word and make everyone love reading. Not only do we treat them to new experiences between the pages of a book, but we also help them cope with their mental health issues. That’s a really amazing way of utilizing the gift of prose.

Has reading helped you cope with mental health issues in any way? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!