Thursday, July 30, 2009

Read Two Books and Call Me in the Morning

Reading is the best way relax and lower stress levels, more effective than listening to music, drinking tea or coffee, taking a walk or playing video games.

According to researchers at Britain's University of Sussex, even six minutes of silent reading can cut your stress by 68 percent, slowing the heart rate and easing heart and muscle tension.

"Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation," said cognitive neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, who conducted the study for the university's Mindlab International. "This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination."

The words on the printed page, he said, stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.

This is good news for readers and bookstores. But it's also great news for writers. We're the ones whose creative imaginations get those words onto the page and whose literary worlds can be so therapeutic -- for ourselves and for others.

By the way, the study found that music reduced stress levels by 61 percent, a cup of tea of coffee dropped them by 54 percent, walking lowered them by 42 per cent and playing video games brought them down by 21 percent.

The research was commissioned by Britain's Galaxy chocolate in support of a campaign to give away a million books over the next six months. The study was reported today in the online edition Marie Claire magazine.

The report failed to note whether chocolate consumption (Galaxy's or otherwise) was an effective stress-reducer!

Other Voice of Your Muse posts about reading:
Read to Write
The Life Affirming Experience of Reading

Image: "Old Woman Reading" by Rembrandt


Yann said...

You are right. I do it in the night so I can have a good sleep. Reading with a nice cool music is good too.

Mark David Gerson said...

Maybe the key, Yann, is to read a book while listening to music and drinking tea. (Adding a simultaneous walk and a video game might just be too much!)

lionmother said...

LOL reading is my favorite thing to do without people or computer or IPod.:) Thanks for the info. Wow what if chocolate were a stress reducer. Reading and chocolate! What a combo!!

Have you been to my blog? That reduces stress too.:)

Mark David Gerson said...

What could be better than a good book and some dark chocolate!!

(Enjoyed visiting your blog, Barbara.)

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, Sara. Glad to have you as part of my online creative family!

Please check out my other blog, too: Mark David Gerson's New Earth Chronicles.