How Reading Can Improve Your Mental Health

Hey guys, it’s Omer again! For this week’s blog post, I’m going to be talking about the importance of reading. Reading can greatly improve your stress and anxiety levels as well as your mental health. In the eighteenth century, essayists Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele wrote that “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” This is certainly as true today as it was back then.

Reading consistently, specifically fiction books, engages the mind and imagination, reducing stress in the process. In a study conducted at the University of Sussex, individuals who read for merely six minutes a day exhibited slower heart rates, less muscle tension, and reduced stress levels. Dr. David Lewis, the doctor who ran this study, pointed to the altered state of consciousness in which participants entered when reading, which allowed their imaginations to be engaged. In this sense, reading can serve almost as a source of distraction for those suffering from mental health and stress problems, shifting their focus to things other than what is currently bothering them.

In addition to this, reading has several long-term mental benefits. A study found a positive association between cognitive based activities such as reading and a decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease as well as good brain health at an old age.

At Ohio State, there are several resources available that can allow students to grab a good book and unwind for a portion of their day. Many do not know this, but the university has 10 different libraries! Aside from the two main libraries in Thompson and 18th Avenue, there are several others which specialize in specific topics, such as Biological Sciences, Geology, and even Cartoons!

My personal favorite is the Architecture library, located at Knowlton Hall on North Campus, across from Fisher. The building itself is very cool and unique with its high-rise ceilings, and even has a café inside! It is the perfect place on campus to unwind, relieve stress, and grab a bite to eat.



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