Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Books are our friends

Reading 'can help reduce stress'
The Telegraph :Reading is the best way to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce stress levels by more than two thirds. And it works better and faster than other methods to calm frazzled nerves such as listening to music, going for walk or settling down with a cup of tea...

The research was carried out on a group of volunteers by consultancy Mindlab International at the University of Sussex. Their stress levels and heart rate were increased through a range of tests and exercises before they were then tested with a variety of traditional methods of relaxation.

Reading worked best, reducing stress levels by 68 per cent, said cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis. Subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart and ease tension in the muscles, he found. In fact it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started.

Listening to music reduced the levels by 61 per cent, having a cup of tea or coffee lowered them by 54 per cent and taking a walk by 42 per cent. Playing video games brought them down by 21 per cent from their highest level but still left the volunteers with heart rates above their starting point.

Dr Lewis, who conducted the test, said: 'Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation... It really doesn't matter what book you read... This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.'
Image source here.