Listening to music, having a cup of tea and taking a walk are all great things to do to cope with stress. A more effective way to cope with stress is to read. A recent study showed reading reduces stress by 68 percent, more so than listening to music, having a cup of tea, or taking a walk.
Many people have some sort of aversion to reading, even if it is something they can find enjoyment in. Excuses are made as to why people avoid reading, the biggest of which is they don’t have the time. Statistically, people watch TV at least 10 times as much as they spend time reading. Although rewatching the Harry Potter series for the seventh time may feel nice, reading will take you places Harry couldn’t even dream of. This is all due to the impact reading has on our minds. When you read, you improve your memories, increase your brain power, enhance your empathy, lower your blood pressure and reduce your heart rate. When you combine the benefits of reading together, they bring peace and contentment.
I know what many of you are thinking – I read the news everyday and it stresses me out! 1 in 10 Americans check the news every hour. Surveys show that the majority of people have increased anxiety, fatigue and stress after reading the news. The reading we are suggesting for coping is not the news!
Put aside the news and pick up a book. This can be a book about your interests, such as cooking, pottery or under water basket weaving. This can be a book about places, such as the vastness of the ocean, wilderness of the Australian outback or the peculiar things you can find at your grandma’s house. This book can also be a fictional journey that takes you to places you can only imagine. You can also choose to read books that fill you up spiritually and tell you more about God.
Your challenge today is to put down the news and pick up a book. Let us know what you choose to read and how you notice the impact in your life!
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss