Read Your Way to Relaxation: Reading as Stress Relief


Charles Edward Perugini – Girl Reading

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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


Leopold Loeffler – Girl With a Book

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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!


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10 thoughts on “Read Your Way to Relaxation: Reading as Stress Relief

  1. Judy Yaron PhD July 10, 2014 at 1:19 PM Reply

    With you, Dawn. I love reading. Reading daily should be as habitual as brushing one’s teeth. In fact, there are times, when I begin my day reading, rather than read a few pages before falling asleep. Love the photos you added to your post 🙂 HUGS ❤


    • Dawn Teresa July 10, 2014 at 2:09 PM Reply

      Thanks so much, Judy. You are spot on about reading being habitual. I cannot understand why so many would rather veg out in front of the television.


  2. Kebba Buckley Button July 11, 2014 at 12:11 AM Reply

    Dawn, I”m visiting from Delia’s hood. How wonderful there’s a study proving that reading beats other stress management techniques! I give stress management trainings, so this is really good stuff for me! Where can I find the study, or who published it? Thanks so much!


    • Dawn Teresa July 11, 2014 at 6:59 AM Reply

      Hi, Kebba. I didn’t dig to find the study findings, but if you click on “study” above, you’ll find I’ve linked the article I read which reported the results. From there you’ll find some names.

      If you find more info, please come back and tell me!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Table setting design (@NotreCharme) July 11, 2014 at 7:24 AM Reply

    R= read & relax, I totally agree with you! Reading is actually my shelter and I always strive to keep it safe, no matter what happens: I always find some time for me and my double “R” moments!


  4. bsymommonologues July 15, 2014 at 7:11 AM Reply

    Dawn I love to read! Even my oldest son I encourage him to read and so far he score one of the highest student in the school in reading skills. Books always bring knowledge to you, even if is only to entertain only. Thanks for this article!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Delia Rusu (@blogformatting) July 17, 2014 at 7:59 PM Reply

    I love reading, Dawn! I used to think I have to read for hours to “count” but now I know just reading a few pages before I go to sleep or during the day is wonderful too! I also read lots of blogs, but that you knew already 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dawn Teresa July 17, 2014 at 9:47 PM Reply

      Thanks, Delia. And yes, any amount of reading is always valuable. And better than not reading at all.


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