Keep calm and read a book

It can reduce your stress levels by 68%

Be kind and read a book

How have you been feeling lately? Have you been getting frustrated more easily, or snapping at friends and loved ones? Maybe you’ve been exercising every day to release built up tension, or you’ve been flicking through Netflix for the past three days and have only just come up for air.

Have you been working your way through project after project to find a sense of fulfilment - and to stop yourself from having the time to think about what’s troubling you? Or maybe you’ve been watching social media for constant updates and planning for each contingency?  

Stress and anxiety are affecting many of us, including our friends, family and colleagues. We’ve all put coping mechanisms in place to keep us going each day.

One you might not have considered yet, but we’d recommend, is taking some time each day to pick up a book. Whether it’s in the morning when you’re feeling fresh, or during the day if you’ve hit a rough patch, or at night to help you relax before bed – pick up a book.  

What does the research say?  

  • Reading can “affect personal and social development, happiness, behaviour, relationships, education, employment, financial well-being, health and community and cultural participation” (Evans, 2017, page 1).  
  • Reading for pleasure is important. It can make you feel good, give you opportunities to learn new things, give insight into other cultures and people’s lives, reduce your stress levels and provide you with an escape from real life (Evans, 2017) 
  • The University of Sussex has also found that it can reduce stress because when you’re concentrating on what’s happening in your book, you’re distracted from reality, which then eases the tensions in your muscles and heart (Evans, 2017).  
  • Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis, has found that reading can reduce your stress levels by 68%, compared with listening to music (61%), a cup of tea or coffee (54%) and a walk (42%) (Evans, 2017).  

Raid your bookshelf for gems from your past. Now is a good time to revisit them. Alternatively, you could try these options to grab some new books to read. 

  • Sign up to the Ballarat Libraries to access eBooks, eAudiobooks and magazines from your smartphone, tablet or computer 
  • Download books out of copyright for free from Project Gutenberg 
  • Create an account for Amazon Kindle to purchase eBooks and eAudiobooks to read on your device. They even have some free ones. 

Need some recommendations? 

We’ll keep adding more content to this page so check in for more suggestions and reading opportunities.  

Source: Evans, N. (2017). Reading is good for you: A literature review, Australian publishers Association,