How to be a blissed out bookworm
One of winter’s greatest joys is also a real mental wellbeing boost too
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!