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Bibliotherapy part 2:

Do you want to reduce stress levels, lower heart rate, and ease tension in the muscles? Usually, this kind of claim is a start toa bad commercial for medication or maybe even an advertisement to hit the gym. Instead, I am telling you to hit the couch. With a book.

Although it has not been often repeated a study by the University of Sussex showed about  decade ago that in six minutes a day of uninterrupted reading, you can reduce stress levels as measured by cortisol levels, up to 68 %. To put this in its place this compares to taking a walk at 42% or a tea and coffee break at 61 %.


Read, read, read a book, gently by yourself...
Read, read, read a book, gently by yourself...

Think about that. Walking away from work in the middle of the day to have a cup of tea, is less stress reducing than reading. For six minutes. What else is six minutes? That’s two songs by most artists. Making the aforementioned cup of tea. Brushing your teeth and then returning to your desk. Five YouTube shorts or 10 TikTok’s.


And none of those things will reduce your blood pressure as immediately. Not only does it work, it works better the more specific our problem.  For example, if you are dealing with a specific trauma or grief. Through identification with characters who overcome similar struggles, readers can experience catharsis and gain insight into their own situations, fostering a sense of hope and resilience​ (Psychology Today article)​.

So, what are you doing not reading?


Relax yourself. Grab a book. Put it somewhere you can’t miss it. Your pillow at night. Your nightstand where your alarm sits. Your bathroom reading stand. (You know you have one!) Write it on your to do list. If you are willing to exercise, or meditate, or complain to a friend for five minutes, help future you by reading for six.

 

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