Real pleasure cuts stress...by up to 68%. So when do you get it?

Julie Pippert
January 14, 2010

While waiting in the car rider line at the school before kid pickup. While cooking dinner in the kitchen. While taking a shower. While hiding in the bathroom, pretending to do business, but taking five minutes. While commuting to work on a train. In bed, after the kids are asleep.

What are these moms doing in these moments?

Reading books, for pleasure.

According to Marie-Claire, a recent study found that 

New research by consultancy Mindlab International at the University of Sussex says reading works better and faster than other methods to calm frazzled nerves such as listening to music, going for a walk or settling down with a cup of tea.

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 read this and conclude that reading is, after all, after I suspected my entire life, crucial to a long, healthy and happy life. I can't wait to tell my family. I can't wait to tell all my friends who shared all the stress-filled moments that they tone down into pleasurable times by reading a book. Most of all, I can't wait to tell the publishing industry because this study says reading a book, a real book, not a Kindle, not a computer, not listening to a book, but actually reading a real book.

Dr Lewis, who conducted the test, said: "Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism."

Amen, Dr. Lewis.

Some commenters worried that some types of books might increase stress. In fact, other studies bear up that exploring feelings through stories in books is a healthy way to deal with those emotions and worries in a safer venue. 

Reading is a pleasure and is good for you. How can you make time to read?

The majority of my friends said they cram reading into any moment they can find. I, and one of my oldest friends, admitted that we, bookworms that we are, make special time for reading. I make time on Saturday mornings to read. I make time before bed, even if it means I have to close myself in the bathroom in a bath. What a hardship. 

But what if, now knowing how great a stress relief reading is, I decide that's my solution for those majorly stressed times? What if on that neck or nothing day I tell myself, tonight, I'm going to do three yoga poses, and sit down with a cup of herbal tea, and read a pleasant book? (See how I combined several of the top de-stressers all in one? Ha!) What if I commit to reading because it's good for me, and if I'm in good shape then I'm a better mother, wife, worker, friend, all-around person?

The women I know seem to inherently understand and appreciate how good reading is for them on variety of levels. They enjoy the down-time it provides, the pleasure of a good story, the enlightenment of learning something new, and most of all, the escape. It didn't matter whether they preferred nonfiction historical tomes or fun zombie lit, they had their preferences and they indulged in them.

Plus, it can be an economical indulgence. We can check out books for free from the library, engage in community book sharing and exchanges, buy used for major mark-downs, or even re-read beloved favorites. It's a fantastic way to unwind from worries without creating more stress.

Parents are bombarded by the worthy message that we need to read to our kids. So much of our life, in fact, is dedicated to our kids and outside responsibilities. Here's a new message: read to your kids, read to yourself...it's all good for all of you!

From the Parents

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