How to be a blissed out book­worm

One of win­ter’s great­est joys is also a real men­tal well­be­ing boost too

Spirit and Destiny - - Mind, Body & Spirit -

There’s noTh­ing like curl­ing up with a good book when it’s cold out­side, and a ton of stud­ies show how good read­ing is for our health.

Sup­port­ing men­tal health with books goes right back to the An­cient Greeks, who saw li­braries as heal­ing places for the soul. Sig­mund Freud, the founder of psy­chother­apy, would give his pa­tients books to read as part of their treat­ment, and the shell­shocked sol­ders of First World War were pre­scribed books for their sooth­ing ef­fects.

A study by the Univer­sity of Sus­sex found that read­ing a book silently for just six min­utes re­duced stress lev­els by an as­ton­ish­ing 68 per cent – and the type of book be­ing read was im­ma­te­rial.

You might want to stretch your read­ing time to half an hour a day though. Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan found that, in over 50s, those who read fic­tion, non-fic­tion or po­etry for at least 30 min­utes daily lived a whole two years longer than those who didn’t read books.

Oh, and you might be in­ter­ested to know that there is a word for lov­ing the smell of old books – bib­lios­mia. Sniff­ing the pages of books adds to the en­joy­ment of read­ing for some. And, if you’re a huge book lover, watch out for abib­lio­pho­bia – the fear of run­ning out of books to read!

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