Every day we are overwhelmed with technology. With the internet, smartphones, TV, computers, and tablets, everything is at our fingertips. Humans spend hours a day looking at screens and have become addicted to technology and social media, which has led to a rise in stress. But there’s still things we can do to reduce screen time and stress. One of the best ways to do that is reading.
Reading is a healthy way to give yourself a break and enjoy some quiet time. It’s important to set aside some time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes. According to a 2009 study at the University of Sussex, reading can reduce stress by 68% and is more effective than listening to music or going for a walk. In as little as six minutes of reading, your body becomes relaxed, the tension in your muscles eases, and your heart rate lowers.
When you read, the world is your oyster; you’re the one choosing the book. This means you can take a mental vacation to anyplace you like. Whether you want to escape into a narrative or grow your understanding of a topic that piques your interest, reading clears your mind. It can take you to a place where your brain can focus on the words rather than your daily pressures. By opening a book, you allow yourself to escape life for a while.
Other benefits of reading include the development of a stronger vocabulary and memory. You’ll also strengthen your empathy skills by understanding the characters and plots in the books you read.
Reading at night can improve your sleep. According to Harvard Health Publishing reports, the blue light from your phone screen affects the melatonin levels brains produce, which makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. When you get less sleep, your anxiety and stress levels often increase. Instead of scrolling through your phone before bed, pick up a book and read. You’ll let yourself unwind both mentally and physically.
The health benefits of reading have been scientifically proven. For example, in 2013, researchers from Rush University Medical Center found that those who participated in mentally stimulating activities such as reading showed a lesser likelihood to experience cognitive decline such as dementia as they age.
Reading isn’t just fun; it’s good for your health, too! Take a break from your daily to-do list, turn off your phone, and escape into a book. Your mind and body will thank you for it.