Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Books Relieve Stress!

In our hustle-and-bustle culture, some folks feel that reading is a guilty pleasure--especially when so many other activities vie for our attention. If you're one of those folks, DON'T feel that way.
I ran across an online article from The Telegraph (UK) that reports on a study that concludes reading can help reduce stress. “Reading is the best way to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds.”
So the next time you need a stress-busting break, remember that getting lost in the pages of a good book works better to calm your nerves than listening to music, going for a walk, or enjoying a cup of tea.
According the Telegraph article, “Psychologists believe this is because the human mind has to concentrate on reading and the distraction of being taken into a literary world eases the tensions in muscles and the heart.”
I can’t say that I’m terribly surprised by the study’s findings. Reading is a mini-vacation for me, available any time of the day or night. Ahhh.
Some of my strongest memories are centered around books. I’ve never been without reading material, and I often feel refreshed after a good read. (Also, I’m often fired up and itching to write more after I read a good book.)
I remember stretching out on my mother’s bed as a child and struggling to stay awake while she read to me. I can't imagine I had much stress as a pre-schooler, but those books sure did the trick of helping me to unwind and take a nap.
Books are like old friends who help me to put life in perspective. My first hardback series of books, Anne of Green Gables, was a Christmas gift to me when I was in elementary school, and I still have them all. I can even recall some of the assigned books I read during my high school and college career and how I felt when I read them. The college semester I had to read Forever Amber was one of my busiest, and yet I remember my desire to steal away and read some more chapters of that l-o-n-g book.
I’ve always loved to give and receive books and to talk about books that have moved me, and now I’m in a season of my life when I love to write books to move others.
Just thinking of the worlds I’ve visited and people I’ve gotten to know between the pages of a book is a balm to my spirit. Some books are like old friends, and they deserve a visit now and again to relive the joy of losing yourself in the fictional dream.
How about you? What books have helped to ease your frazzled mind?

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