Did you know you can reduce your stress by 68% in just 6 minutes a day?
Want to know how?
That’s right. Reading for just 6 minutes a day can reduce your stress more effectively than exercising or listening to music.
A 2009 study from Sussex University revealed the powerful benefits of reading when it comes to reducing stress. It doesn’t matter what book you read really, just the act of silently reading will reduce your heart rate and stress level. The pure distraction mixed with intentional concentration is the perfect way to drop the frantic mindset that accompanies stress.
As a book blogger and bibliophile, I am thrilled with this news! (even if I’m a few years late learning about it). But honestly, I’m not that surprised. I’ve known for years now how relaxing reading can be and I’m sure others have picked up on this too. It’s just nice to have a scientific study justifying binge reading every weekend. It’s stress relief.
I’ve got to wonder if reading for more than 6 minutes has an exponential effect or if it levels off at a certain point? I mean, I’m sure that reading can’t solve all of the world’s problems, but I do think it can solve more than we give it credit for. Even if your stress is only reduced while reading, wouldn’t it then be worth it to read as often and as long as possible? Could 30 minutes a day help maintain lower stress levels in between reading sessions? Lots to think about.
And 68% stress reduction is no laughing matter. That’s an amazing improvement in such a short time.
I’d like to think that if this information was more widely known that people could make time for 6 minutes. Or even two or three. Any added benefit of stress relief should be utilized.
The study does note that the more interested and invested you are in the book, the more likely you are to see top results. That seems like a no brainer, but it really is key if people want to use this strategy as a stress and anxiety reducer. Fiction in particular is a good way to let go of the real world and truly escape for a time. The better the book, the more stress reduction. Just don’t stress too much over choosing the perfect book.
My advice based on this study: find time to read every day; make it a good book; and be consistent.
A few minutes reading while you wait for the bus or while you wind down before bed will do wonders for your mental health. You might even come away learning something new too.