Reading: The Benefits for Your Mental Health
This post is the third in an ongoing blog series, inspired by the Community Book Club, that explores the positive impacts of reading and of joining a peer community.
The Community Book Club is here to show you how it benefits every area of your life, both at home and in the workplace.
In our last blog, we talked to you about how reading is essentially a gym for our brains, asked whether it’s possible to read too much, and explored the ways reading can help you become a better leader. This time, we’re examining another important aspect of reading: the benefits of reading for your mental health.
Reading relieves stress
You’ll be well aware of how stressful modern life can be, especially given just how turbulent the world has been in recent times. But did you know that reading for just 6 minutes per day can reduce stress levels by up to 68%? That’s according to research by Dr David Lewis at the University of Sussex.
The study also ranked reading as a better stress-relieving method than walking, playing video games, listening to music, or drinking a cup of tea. When your stress levels reduce, you’re in a better position to make decisions both at work and at home.
It’s better together
Reading on your own is great for reducing stress, but did you know that reading as part of a group can have huge mental health benefits?
Over the course of 12 months, the Liverpool Health Inequalities Research Institute monitored a reading group diagnosed with depression. The study found a clear improvement in the mental health of the group over the year as participants developed their ability to discuss meaningful issues.
The participants also reported improved concentration, better emotional understanding, and increased self-awareness – all valuable skills for anyone managing workplace relationships or needing to focus.
A good night’s sleep
We all know the impact of a poor night’s sleep on our working day. Could the solution be to read more?
A survey from SleepJunkie found that, on average, regular readers sleep an hour and a half longer per week than non-readers. The respondents said that reading helps them relax, increases their focus, and enhances their sleep. Getting more sleep has close links with higher levels of productivity. What could you achieve with an extra 90 minutes of sleep every week?
Improved sleep wasn’t the only insight from the survey. It also found that 79% of regular readers would say they get the most out of themselves. Oh, and they also earn an average of £2178 more each year than non-readers.
Looking for more insight into the mental health benefits of reading? Check out this podcast from Mental Conversations: ‘The Benefits of Reading ft. Phil Mellen’.
Look out for our next blog post, in which we’ll explore how to help your team, and your business, succeed by fostering a growth mindset.
If you haven’t yet, make sure you watch the Community Book Club panel discussion of Lead. Care. Win.: How to Become a Leader Who Matters by Dan Pontefract. The panels features Stela Koleva, Vice President, EMEA Service and Support & Country Director at SAP Concur Prague, who said:
“Dan Pontefract gives practical tools to help the reader understand what it is to be a leader who cares. Without dismissing the need for results, this book challenges the traditional corporate mindset, inviting us to bring our whole selves to work: head, heart, and soul.”
Feel free to forward the Community Book Club invitation to your colleagues – it’s a great way to help employees reap the benefits of reading.
 Yang et al. (2018) Work Productivity Loss Associated with Sleep Duration, Insomnia Severity, Sleepiness, and Snoring
 Liverpool Health Inequalities Research Institute (2017) An Investigation into the Therapeutic Benefits of Reading in Relation to Depression and Well-Being.
 Lewis, D. (2009), Galaxy Stress Research. Mindlab International, Sussex University, UK.