The Therapeutic Benefits of Reading

How Our Mental Health Can Bounce Back

As the new year approached, wildfires swept unexpectedly across suburban neighborhoods in Boulder County, Colorado. Nearly 1,000 homes were destroyed in a matter of hours. Climate change disasters are unsettlingly constant now, and as the Boulder fire demonstrated so poignantly, they can occur almost anywhere.

But how can we remain resilient in unusually straining times like these, and how might we become more resilient in the future? For that, we need to take a closer look at what science can tell us.

By themselves, climate disasters are worrisome enough, but they occur now amid the ongoing exhaustion of a global health pandemic, which has taken more than 5 million lives globally. Add to the mix festering political discord and simmering racial unrest and the combination is literally combustible. Not surprisingly, there has been widespread alarm about possible mental health costs.

Yet, despite such weighty burdens, the remarkable truth is that most people can manage these combined stresses and strains surprisingly well. In short, people are resilient…READ ON

The Therapeutic Benefits of Reading

For many Americans, the uncertainty and boredom of the pandemic were escapable in the pages of a book. In 2021, 75 percent of Americans said they read or started at least one book, with the average person reading 14 books.

reading
Crystallized knowledge includes a wide range of cultural literacy as well as our basic understandings of science, philosophy and psychology.
Credit:(photolinc/Shutterstock)

The percentage of Americans who said they read in previous year has been consistent since 2011, according to annual surveys by Pew Research. Format preferences, however, have changed, and library closures during the pandemic meant some readers opted for e-books over print. Last year, 30 percent of Americans read an e-book, an increase of 5 percent from the previous year, according to the Pew study.

Regardless of the format, reading remains a major form of entertainment, education and at times an escape from real life. However, scientists have also found that reading benefits the brain in terms of both neurological function and emotional wellness…READ ON

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