It’s official! Reading improves your mental health and well-being, according to leading scientists. I believe that it’s impossible to over-emphasis how wonderful an experience and how valuable reading can be. A reading habit can change your life. You will be enriched by it in so many ways.  So, here’s some ideas that came to me, over a cup of tea, about how amazing reading is and how it can improve your well-being.

Reading a good book helps you to lose yourself in a different world.  It is a safe, easy, effective and inexpensive way to take a mental holiday.  By reading you can hear people talk to you; people who you’ll never meet; people who live far away; people who come alive only in your mind, even though they may have been dead for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. Writers will give you a window into different worlds, different ways of thinking about things and introduce you to different experiences, real ones or fictional.

Reading cultivates empathy. It can help put your own life into perspective, lowers stress and promotes relaxation.  Reading will help you cope with everyday problems: allowing you to escape hassles and irritations. If you’re worried about that over-due piece of homework or had a row with your friend, brother, sister, mum or dad … or anybody? Don’t worry! A book will take your mind away from the problem, will help you forget it for a while, and might even help you come up with a solution to the problem. Reading is a great way of putting things in perspective and making you realise that all will be well!

Reading invites you to think better, improve your memory, it increases your intelligence, and helps you problem-solve more creatively.  It’s a great way of helping you boost your brain-power. I’ve sometimes felt physically better and generally happier after half-an-hour immersing myself in another world in the form of a good book. Once you’ve got into the reading habit it becomes a healthy way to spend time and you’ll find a day without reading is a day less well-lived and less enjoyable. Try it and see.

Reading helps you fall asleep and sleep better. So long as it’s the right sort of book! I would recommend a gentle read, some poetry, perhaps, a light novel … but perhaps not a horror story before you switch of the light! I once read Dracula – or the best part of half of it – in one sitting when in bed. I was so scared that I couldn’t, daren’t, put it down. That was a sleepless night!

As I said reading can help in so many areas of your life.  So, put down your mobile phone; switch off the television; find a comfy chair; pick up a good book and start a much healthier routine by reading. Enjoy! A whole world of wonder awaits. Go off and explore it!