Read yourself calm

Read yourself calm

Staying relaxed and self-aware is vital to our wellbeing but the wicked state of the world means that this is often not easy. Reading for pleasure has been found to have a profound impact on wellbeing. It doesn’t matter what you read, only that it is something you find enjoyable.

Escaping into a good book and reading for just six minutes has been shown to reduce stress levels by two-thirds, an effect greater even than the second best-known stressbuster, listening to music.  Losing yourself in a book has been described as the ultimate relaxation, comparable to an altered state of consciousness.

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” 


Reading for pleasure for just 30 minutes a week is associated with increased life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, better sleep, more creativity and increased happiness. Reading helps us rediscover all of who we are, as we recognise feelings and situations faced by characters, reminding us of our common humanity and helping us remember and reconnect to all that we are and not just those aspects of ourselves we feel reduced to by the doubts and anxieties of the moment.

Reading also helps people socialise more effectively. With a broader vocabulary, more practice empathising with characters in fiction or biographies and more interesting things to talk about, reading can help people connect more easily and deeply with others.

Click here for tips on finding fun things to read, from graphic novels to conventional fiction.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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