When I’m frazzled and beaten down, when I’m exhausted from overwork, or when I’m angry at the world, where do I find relief? In the pages of a book!
Books really are a girl’s best friend, and thanks to a 2009 study conducted at the University of Sussex, there are numbers to prove that reading can help reduce stress. When compared to other methods of stress relief like music, tea or coffee, walking, and video games, reading came out on top, causing stess levels to drop as much as 68%.
Don’t have time to fit in a lot of reading? No problem. As little as six minutes spent reading quietly is all it takes to lessen muscle tension and decrease heart rate.
Reading can be the ultimate distraction. In a good sense. The act of concentrating on the written word transports you to another place. When you lose yourself in a work of fiction, you replace your stressful thoughts with new ones. You’re reprogramming your mind and wiping the slate clean. Take that, meditation!
I try to read for relaxation every day at work. I eat lunch at my desk while I’m working so that for a full hour I can hole myself away to read. I brown bag my lunch, and I’ve tried to go to the lunch room to read. Invariably, someone sitting across the table will engage me in conversation. I thought an open book was as good as a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my forehead. Nope! Not to mention the television! Argh…talk about increasing stress! Faced with this quandary, I mentioned my experiences to our Human Resources staff, and they designated an unused office space as a “Quiet Room” where staff can go to make a private phone call or spend their break. I’m not sure how many use the space, but for me, it’s my own little personal haven.
I hope I have convinced you to make time in your day for a little R and R — READING and relaxation.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear a book calling my name….
Go [read] in peace!
— Dawn Teresa
Do you turn to reading as a method of relaxation?
What kinds of books do you find best relieve stress?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!