It’s no mystery that there are countless benefits to reading including increased creativity and mental flexibility, and even staving off dementia, but did you know that numerous studies have shown that reading puts our brains into a state similar to meditation?
Reading induces the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers have been shown to sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers. Studies have shown that getting lost in a book can actually lower levels of cortisol, and other unhealthy stress hormones, by up to 67%. Reading literary fiction can also increase feelings of empathy and human connectedness. The idea that reading books has a positive effect on our minds and mood is not new - in many ancient societies including the Greeks and the Egyptians, libraries were considered sacred spaces with “healing” properties. There is even a form of therapy known as “Bibliotherapy” which is thought to be effective because it provides an additional outlet for patients to work through problems, gain new perspectives and help an individual recognize that they are not alone in their struggles. So next time you are feeling anxious, try out that new novel you’ve been meaning to read - step inside and embark on your own inner journey … hopefully to more peace.