Schedule some time in your day for a juicy paperback, ladies. If meditation just isn’t your bag, research suggests that reading will achieve much the same effect. Reading can have such a profound effect on one’s happiness and wellbeing, they’ve even coined a term for it: bibliotherapy. According to The New York Times, there exists very real evidence that suggests how readers sleep far better and enjoy higher levels of self-esteem than their non-reading counterparts. If that’s not enough reason to dive into a good novel, we don’t know what is. What’s more, those who read possess far lower rates of depression than those who do not.
“Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers… Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm.”
As per The New Yorker, you’re best bet is to opt for a fictional tome for the ways in which it can enhance your social skills: “We have started to show how identification with fictional characters occurs, how literary art can improve social abilities.”
Though the idea of reading as being good for the soul has been around since the year dot, bibliotherapy is now considered something of a science, with many therapists prescribing various kinds of reading to help patients with a myriad of issues, and one that’s been watched closely, is dementia. The prescribing of various readings is taken rather seriously, depending on what ails a person: “A book may be a stimulant or a sedative or an irritant or a soporific. The point is that it must do something to you, and you ought to know what it is. A book may be of the nature of a soothing syrup or it may be of the nature of a mustard plaster.”
Read Ceridwen Dovey’s fascinating exploration of bibliotherapy over yonder.