We live in a very fast aced world. What was today’s trend is tomorrow’s old news. The economy is constantly changing and the mass-media doesn’t help either. With 7.2 billion human beings currently on the planet, people surprisingly get more and more isolated from each other, the more packed together they are. This is the reason you see throngs of pedestrians with their heads down, rushing home, in order to avoid the thousands of people on the city streets. One might say that our bodies and minds aren’t quite suited for this. The way we can tell it is through stress.
Stress is body’s reaction to outside threats and uncertainties, keeping is in a constant state o alertness. Doctors all over the world unanimously agree that stress is the main cause for many illnesses people suffer throughout their lives. It has been linked to all sorts of cancers, mental illnesses, heart and circulatory problems, diabetes and many other things we’re just now discovering. In short, stress is the hidden plight of modern day living.
In 2009, Mindlab International, a consultancy based at the University of Sussex has determined that reading books is the best thing you can do to relieve stress. Research has shown that after just 6 minutes of reading, stress levels drop by 68%. In fact, in many cases the stress level was even lower than that before the tests even began. By comparison, listening to music reduced stress levels by 61% taking a walk reduced stress by 42%, and playing video games reduced stress by 21%.
Dr. David Lewis, who conducted the study, concluded: “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.It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.This is more than merely a distraction, but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.”
A further analysis in the study has shown that, even though reading will greatly alleviate stress, reading from a tablet just before going to bed can actually lead to an increase of symptoms of insomnia. Reading actual, physical books is the key here. Anne Mangen of Stavanger University, concluded that “the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does.”