Reading reduces stress

 Unfortunately, at-risk children and adolescents often lead stressful lives. Books can be helpful with this.

 In a study conducted by American scientists, it was tested how stress in students was reduced by yoga, humor and reading, respectively. Yoga and humor have been tested previously in this context so their ability to reduce stress didn’t come as a big surprise. However, the effect of reading did. 22 students participated for three weeks, where they took part in one activity per week. Their stress levels were evaluated according to cardiac rhythm and blood pressure, before and after each session. The results of this study showed that reading has at least the same beneficial effect at reducing stress as humor and yoga.

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Another study, from England, also shows reading to be an efficient stress-reducing tool. It was actually found to be the most effective of the many tools tested after the participants were  “stressed out” by the scientists’ different methods. Reading worked better than taking a walk, listening to music, or relaxing with a cup of tea. Studies show that reading reduces stress by up to 68%, and relaxes both muscles and heartbeat, which is thought to be because the reader has to concentrate and let himself be distracted by the book’s universe. After only six minutes of quiet reading, the stress levels of the participants were reduced to their starting point, and for some, their stress levels were even lower.  

The at-risk children and adolescents, to whom Read for Your Life donates libraries, have usually had an upbringing characterized by neglect, trauma and loss. Those emotional scars affect inner well-being, and they often suffer from chronic stress disorder. Therefore, the books not only improve reading skills, for example, but also provide a calming and pleasant break in an otherwise chaotic day.

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