How Reading Can Boost Your Mental Health

Following World Mental Health Day, we talk about the benefits of reading for mental health, and share tips on how to use books for your own self-development.
As many writers know, reading has many benefits, but did you know it can boost your mental health?

Tuesday 10 October 2017 was World Mental Health Day. It’s estimated that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. So how can we, as authors and publishers, raise awareness for this fundamental cause?

Apart from being a fun and educational hobby, it appears that being a bookworm is great for your mental health. When it comes to minding your head, it looks like reading is up there with eating well and exercising.

Research has shown that reading strengthens the muscles in your brain, which can help you to wind down after a stressful day. A study by the University of Sussex and published by The Telegraph found that it works faster and more efficiently than other methods to reduce stress, such as listening to music, going for a walk or sitting down with a cup of tea. What’s more, regularly burying your head in a good book has also been proven to enhance brain power and memory skills.

According to the Mayo Clinic, reading before bed can help you to sleep better. Avoid e-readers, as looking at screens too close to bedtime can interrupt your journey to the land of nod. Perhaps save up your paperbacks and hardbacks as late-night reads. Short stories are great for bedtime reading (why not check out our selection of novellas?).

We’ve prepared the following tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of reading for your mental health:

  • Include reading as part of a 'bedtime ritual’. A nightly routine of a hot (caffeine-free) drink, a relaxing bath and reading a book can train your body and mind into knowing it’s time to go to sleep.
  • Find your favourite genre. There are so many books out there; it can be difficult to know where to start! The SilverWood Bookshop features books of a variety of different genres, so whether you’re into thrillers, sci-fi or memoirs, we’ve got you covered.
  • Consider using books for your own self-development. The SilverWood Bookshop has an entire section dedicated to this genre, featuring a range of inspiring books by authors who have shared their wisdom on a variety of topics.
  • Get writing! This article has explored the benefits of reading, but if you’re feeling a little creative then why not try putting your own thoughts to paper? If you have a manuscript you’d like reviewed, or are thinking about publishing your book, please get in touch.

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