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Holiday Stress? Try Reading

By Dr. Geri Markel On 

Who wrote this comment?:

“A University of Sussex study found that reading just 6 minutes can reduce stress levels up to 68%. Not only that, reading has been proven to help us sleep, spark our creativity, expand our vocabularies, and keep us informed. But with our lives getting continually busier, finding the time to read can be a challenge. Here are 3 tips to help you squeeze in some extra reading time each day.”

Was it

__ 1. A reading consultant at an institution for higher learning?

__ 2. A stress coach?

__ 3. A public relations expert at Kindle eBook?

Hard to believe, but this is an advertisement I received from Amazon Prime.

Prior to this, the person who gave reading a tremendous boast was Oprah Winfrey. Her book club ran for 15 years, recommended 70 books, and got millions of non-readers to read and discuss a wide variety of topics.

Certainly, if only to reduce stress during the most hectic of seasons, we need to think about reading and how to integrate it into our daily lives.

Here are a few tips:

  • Carry that paperback or download the books to your mobile device. Waiting in line or for an appointment, allow yourself to be taken to another time and place.
  • Read a book as a family or with a few friends. Many of the books assigned to teens make great adult reading and provide a break from sports conversations. Here are some suggestions: “The Martian” (fiction) and “The Hot Zone” (non- fiction).
  • Enjoy a book in a different format using audio or film. Good literature, in any form, provides entertainment and relaxation.
  • Think small. Schedule 10-minute reading breaks a few times a week.
  • Buy or give a subscription to a newspaper or magazine.

Digital devices do make it easier to have a book anywhere you go, but as a person who has loved books and reading all her life, I’m biased; nothing replaces the printed page.

As a child I had stories read to me every night and still enjoy reading in bed before going to sleep. Here’s a great article from the Huffington Post about the benefits to the brains of children when parents read aloud to them.  Also, don’t forget the warmth, comfort and caring a child experiences while being read to.  The experience of reading together can stick with your child so that her(his) fond memories of the experience can serve as a comfort and stress reliever when reading on her(his) own.

As the research indicates, all my life I have found reading relaxing and entertaining. Hope you do too.  Grab some hot cocoa or tea and a good book!  I hope you find it a real stress reliever during this holiday season and beyond.


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