Reading and mental health 


The topic of the health effects of reading is rich and multifaceted and can provide valuable information. Much has been said about aspects of mental health and how to maintain it. 

Reading is one way to maintain and refresh your health. In addition to expanding vocabulary and horizons, relieving boredom and igniting imagination, reading can also help to boost mental health. 

A study by the University of Sussex found that just six minutes of reading a day can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. It is known that reading takes your mind away from everyday worries and can bring contentment. There is nothing better than picking up a book before falling asleep and consciously diverting your thoughts away from everyday worries. In addition, reading helps the body and mind to relax, and thanks to this, the quality of sleep can also improve. 

The researchers also found that reading can reduce stress better and more quickly than other methods like listening to music (61%), drinking tea or coffee (54%), or going for a walk (42%). 

Researchers believe the concentrating on reading a good book helps distract the brain away from anxious and stressful thinking, which reduces heart rate and muscle tension caused by stress. (Reading for 6 Minutes Reduces Stress by 68 Percent, 2021) 

Reading offers emotional support and empathy. Reading fiction can help develop empathy and understanding of other people’s emotions. Reading different biographies that describe the experiences of famous people can help the reader feel less alone. In addition, a person can identify with another person’s concerns and get help from the book. A book can provide both comfort and inspiration. In a certain aspect, reading special books can also be part of the therapy process (bibliotherapy). (RGERBER, 2012) 

Reading specific pieces of literature and talking about them with a therapist or in a group therapy setting is thought to help patients understand perspectives other than their own, make sense of a difficult past or upsetting symptoms, or experience feelings of hope, contentment, and empathy. More generally, reading is also thought to improve self-esteem, self-awareness, and feelings of self-efficacy. (Bibliotherapy, Psychology Today, n.d.) 

Reading can actually increase neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt and change in response to new experiences.  

When you read, you are effectively giving your brain new information to process. For example, reading can help to improve your memory and understanding of new concepts. It can also help you to pay attention and focus more easily. Additionally, reading can improve your critical thinking skills and your ability to make connections between different ideas. (Does Reading Increase Neuroplasticity?, n.d.) 

Finally, the profitability of reading is no longer in doubt. Creating and participating in book clubs could be part of people’s daily practices. Discussions and sharing of experiences around reading can enrich mental health, create new friendships, provide social support and increase a sense of belonging. 


Reading For 6 Minutes Reduces Stress By 68 Percent. (2021, June 23). 

    Bibliotherapy | Psychology Today. (n.d.). 

      Does Reading Increase Neuroplasticity? (n.d.). NeuroPraxis. Retrieved June 24, 2024, 

        RGERBER. (2012, December 17). Bibliotherapy. Tools, Publications & Resources.