2020 Stressing You Out? Maybe Read a Book

  • Want an IQ boost? Read a book.
  • Need to build empathy? Read a book.
  • Stressed out by … everything? Read a book.

Reading in print, according to this post in Paper & Packaging, has tremendous benefits beyond simply being entertaining and relaxing.

“Committing part of every day to reading printed books can make you a smarter, kinder, more relaxed individual,” the article notes. “And the positive effects can be felt at any age: Even before they’ve fully developed their reading skills, kids can benefit from having access to printed materials and being read to on a regular basis.”

We’ve covered some of the science behind this before … like the 2014 research that found early reading skills are predictive of better test results. Or the 2013 study that found people who consume literary fiction in print find it easier to relate to the emotions of others.

Reading print books instead of looking at digital screens has also been shown to help us fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. In fact, our phones are slowly killing us, many scientists argue, by keeping stress hormone levels unnaturally high.

It all boils down to the way our brains work — we are hard-wired to enjoy the sensory experience of reading in print with all that entails … the feel, the smell, the sound, the visual appeal, the entirely tangible experience that draws us to engage more deeply.

Whether you want to dive into the scientific research or go with your own experience, there’s no denying that print is more relaxing, more enjoyable and less likely to make us stressed out than reading online, with all its urgency and disruption.

Perhaps picking up a good book is one of the greatest acts of self-care we do for ourselves. It’s certainly worth a try.