Life can be stressful, which can negatively impact our mental health and wellness.
Feeling stressed or anxious these days? You’re not alone:
- 1 in 5 Canadians report high levels of mental stress*
- 9% report moderate to severe anxiety levels*
- 1% report feeling depressed*
Thankfully, discussions about our mental health have transitioned from being a source of shame to becoming an essential, commonplace conversation. An increasing number of celebrities and sports figures are speaking openly about their struggles and taking action to protect their mental health, providing more widespread awareness and acceptance.
Our mental health affects our day-to-day activities, and strategies to improve mental health concerns are surfacing on a variety of platforms. Apps, podcasts, audio books, etc., are all digital strategies to support your mental health, but what can you do to help boost your mental health that does not include a screen? Read!
5 Reasons To Embrace Reading For Your Mental Health
- Reduces Stress
Getting lost in the pages of a good book, no matter the genre, enables us to escape our thoughts. And reading is shown to reduce stress levels by up to 68%. Just six minutes of reading lowers the heart rate and eases muscle tension.
- Eases Depression
Research shows that reading can provide a significant improvement to mental health for those diagnosed with depression. Participants in the study reported an improvement in concentration and emotional understanding and increased self-awareness.
- Slows Memory Loss and Reduces Risk of Dementia
As with puzzles, writing, and other activities that help stimulate the brain, reading regularly can help slow memory loss. The rate of mental decline was reduced by 32%, according to research from York University.
- Increases Empathy and Cultivates Compassion
Reading fiction can make you more empathetic, helping you to relate to someone else’s beliefs and feelings. Want to improve your leadership skills? Grab that novel that has been gathering dust on your bookshelf! Empathy is an essential leadership skill. As a leader, you are routinely required to make decisions that impact your team. Being more empathetic can help you be more compassionate in delivering messages to staff.
- Makes Us Smarter
Reading can help boost your brain power! People who read a lot are exposed to more information, improving vocabulary and general knowledge, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Our Team reads!
For a little extra motivation to make reading part of your daily routine, start your own book club at work or with a group of friends. Recognizing the valuable impact reading can have on mental health, our INLIV and Wello teams have implemented an internal book club to encourage our team and provide a forum for discussion and sharing of recommendations and reviews. It’s easy to do utilizing forums like Slack or try creating a Facebook group.
Think you don’t have time? Reading just 20 pages per day translates into reading an average of 30 books for year. That’s quite an accomplishment – and it’s good for your mental health.
If you need a little more help to talk through your mental health concerns, talk to our Registered Psychologist, Shelley Hanna.