More Than Just ‘For Pleasure’ Reading Busts Stress and Boosts Creativity

Did you know 16% of Canadians won’t read a single book this year? Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t reading. Tweets, status updates, texts, and emails can dominate our workday, but they don’t provide the same benefits that picking up a book—or an e-reader—will.

Reading Relaxes

According to cognitive neuropsychologists at the University of Sussex, reading for six minutes offers one of the very best ways to relax—it even provided a bit better results than listening to music.

We may be skeptical of that last part, but there is a great deal of evidence that reading is a productive distraction that reduces tension and stress, even while you are practicing essential skills like concentration and comprehension.

Reading Boosts Creativity

In recent years, more and more scientists and creators have helped us recognize that creativity is not just a flash of inspiration that some of us are lucky enough or talented enough to receive from the universe, but the ability to gather raw information, experiences, and thoughts and connect them in insightful and powerful ways. When you read, whatever you read, you are giving your creative brain more to work with.

Reading Can Strengthen Relationships

Reading—especially reading fiction—is a kind of reality simulation that encourages us to consider the perspectives and feelings of others. When we exercise our skills in empathy, we explore our own personal values and identity as well as mentally prep ourselves to accurately read and react to the emotions of others.

Not Sure Where to Start?
Here are a few suggestions…

Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Madeleine ThienDo Not Say We Have Nothing
by Madeleine Thien
Madeleine Thien’s novel was just named one of the finalists for the Man Booker Prize. It follows a multigenerational story of the musicians who lived during, and after, the Cultural Revolution in China.

 

Where I Belong, Alan DoyleWhere I Belong
by Alan Doyle
This memoir from storyteller, singer-songwriter, and musician Alan Doyle (of Great Big Sea fame) is a touching and sometimes surprising love letter to childhood years spent in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland.

 

Fifteen dogs, Andre AlexisFifteen Dogs
by André Alexis
André Alexis’ novel offers up a compelling and tender study of human nature when language and human consciousness it is bestowed upon a group of dogs at a Toronto vet­erinary clinic.

 

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,Angela DuckworthGrit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success
by Angela Duckworth
Psychologist Angela Duckworth’s TED Talk has been viewed over 8 million times. Her motivational book further explores the critical role perseverance plays in success.

 

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