Reading is one of our favourite activities, with one in five Brits describing themselves as an avid reader. And it’s no wonder it is so popular – it’s low-cost, accessible and can provide numerous benefits for our wellbeing. Here are ten of them!

Reading is pleasurable. A good book is hard to put down. As your enjoyment of the story grows, it captivates you, time passes and you become thoroughly absorbed. Sometimes you really don’t want it to be over!

Reading can reduce stress. Reading for just 6 minutes a day can reduce your stress levels by 60%! It can reduce your heart rate, ease muscle tension and alter your state of mind. Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation!

Reading is mindful. You can become immersed in a fictional world, and forget all your worries. Reading is a very mindful activity, as it allows you to let go of distracting thoughts, opinions or judgements and be completely in the present moment.

Reading helps you develop empathy. It has been shown that people who read fiction show improved levels of empathy for other people and an ability to understand someone else’s thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

Reading works your brain. Just like any other muscle, the brain needs exercise to keep it strong and healthy. Reading over your lifetime helps slow down memory loss, and rates of mental decline are reduced if you read later in life.

Reading benefits your mental health. Reading, and reflecting on or discussing what you have read, can help improve the symptoms of depression. It can help increase levels of concentration and self-awareness, impacts which last long after we put down the book. And non-fiction books on mental health can give you lots of help and advice on self-management.

Reading can expand your horizons. Reading books, especially non-fiction, can help you to gain a whole range of new knowledge. Books can teach you about different subjects, different cultures, different time periods and people who have different experiences to our own. It also improves your vocabulary and writing skills!

Reading can help with your night time routine. If you read a book in bed every night it can become part of your routine, and help with your sleep. However, this only applies to print books, because if you read on a screen the light emitted by your device could actually keep you awake.

Reading strengthens resilience. When reading about a situation or experience, it taps into the same parts of our brain that are activated when we have the experience in real life. You can live through the characters in a book and learn about handling their situations if they should ever happen to you.

Reading combats loneliness. You can share your life with the characters in a book, and if they share your struggles it can help you to feel less alone. And you can share your love of reading books with other people!

Why not join our book group Books Mad! which takes place every month with a new book to read and discuss, and share the joy of reading with others – click on the link below for more information!