Reading Is Powerful

Reading Significantly Reduces StressHuman beings nowadays really do not appreciate just how integral stories and reading are to their very being.

Reading has developed from myths and legends being told around the fireside to modern day fiction downloaded over the internet onto an e-reader. As a direct result we as a species have, over millennia, developed the art of storytelling and it has grown to be an almost essential requirement of life. Whilst when most people think about stories and reading they think of entertainment, in fact it is clearly a great deal more fundamental that that. To take just one example businesses are now understanding how important story telling is not just to support their brand and marketing but also to the entire process of management and, particularly, leadership (more of that in another post).

reading can develop empathy, and imagination, and creativityThe function of taking words (ie reading or listening to a story) and picturing what they represent in one’s mind is a highly complex ability that only humans appear to have. The process touches on many parts of the brain. We have discussed in previous posts how reading can develop empathy, and imagination, and creativity, but how about using reading to reduce your stress levels?

According to a recent study reading a book can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. What’s more, the researchers found it works better and faster than other methods to calm frazzled nerves such as listening to music, going for a walk or settling down with a cup of tea, whereas, by contrast, screen based activity only reduces stress by only around 21%.

© 2015 Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 4.0. this day and age it is all too easy for a frazzled parent to give a screen to a child to pacify it, but according to this research you should really be giving a child a book to read.

Indeed, the reality is that if the parent really is frazzled they too could do worse than sit down next to their child and read a book themselves.

There are clear therapeutic effects involved in reading, not just for stress relief but across more complex conditions. Indeed recently the subject of bibliotherapy has started to come up in the realm of psychology and therapy, whereby reading particular texts or books can help with conditions such as PTSD (likewise more of that in another post).


So when your children, or you, are stressed, maybe next time don’t reach for the iPad, or gin, just stretch out and pick up a book !



{ The image “Enjoying some reading time on the Capitol grounds at the 2015 Texas Book Festival” is © 2015 Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 4.0 }


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