Books can have a big impact on our happiness with a great deal of research on the benefits of our wellbeing. Bibliotherapy, or Book Therapy, is prescribed to help people heal through challenging and emotional times. Today I share the many ways in which reading is good for your happiness.
HAPPINESS IS….getting lost in a good book
Since I was a young child I have loved books. My parents always read to me at bedtime and then as soon as I could read I spent hours in my local library reading and choosing books. I even won prizes for reading the most books! And once I started earning pocket money, I spent it all on books. As a shy and anxious child, I loved to lose myself in different worlds. Now I read some of those books to my son. My love of books continues to this day. I’m definitely a Bibliophile, a bookworm, someone who loves books.“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” Stephen King
Books and Lockdown
As I write this, it is 2021 and many of us are restricted or in lockdown. Books allow us to travel when we can’t, explore different places and learn about cultures. Book groups connect us with others.
There is a lot of research on how books are good for our emotional well being. There is even Book Therapy, also known as Bibliotherapy, which is the reading of specific texts with the purpose of healing. It is often combined with writing therapy. I own a lovely book called The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin which is an A-Z of books for every ailment.
Why Reading increases our happiness
Here are my top 13 reasons why reading can increase our happiness
- 1. Books can teach us to have an open mind and be more tolerant and less judgemental so says the research on the Harry Potter books in the Journal Of Applied Social Psychology.
- 2. Books allow us to escape from the real world.
- 3. We can heal through books- Bibliotherapy.
- 4. Reading is inspiring.
- 5. Reading can make us laugh.
- 6. Reading is relaxing.
- 7. Reading reduces stress. Research from the University of Surrey found that reading reduces stress(68%) more than listening to music (61%), drinking tea (54%) and going for a walk (42%).
- 8. Reading increases empathy. Researchers at the New School in New York City found that literary fiction improves children’s capacity to understand how others are thinking and feeling.
- 9. Reading can be inexpensive. Join a library, create a book swap, join sites that show you the free kindle books, borrow from a friend.
- 10. Reading helps you sleep better. Paperback books don’t have the sleep-disrupting light that electronic devices have. They also relax us which can aid sleep.
- 11. Books connect us with others. Talking about books can deepen our friendships and book groups connect us with others.
- 12. Books increase our self-esteem and reduce depression. A UK research by the University of Liverpool found that people who read regularly increased their self-esteem, are more empathic and had a greater capacity to cope with difficult situations. Those who read regularly were 21% less likely to experience feelings of depression, 20% more likely to be satisfied with their life and 10% reported good levels of self-esteem.
- 13. May increase your lifespan. A 12 year study of retired people found that those who read regularly live on average 2 years longer.
Reading Books is Declining in Young People
At a time when younger people are reading far less than ever before (this drop correlates with the rise in popularity in computer games around 1996) and instant gratification is what they want more of, being reminded of how important books are to our emotional health is essential.
Tsundoku is the Japanese have a word that means, A person who owns a lot of unread books. The art of buying books and never reading them. Do you have piles of unread books around your home? Do you buy books that look interesting but never find the time to read them?
Not Enough Time To Read
As a coach, the biggest barrier to reading books (and doing many things in life) is not having enough time. I believe that we need to prioritise the things that bring us joy or are good for our happiness and make time for them. Prioritizing what is truly important in our lives is a fundamental concept in my Intentional Happiness Circle. Find out more about how you can join and create a life of Intentional Happiness.
Happiness Evangelist, Life Coach, Best-Selling Author and Speaker with over 30 years of experience, helping you to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Discover and live to your true potential. Live the life you desire!