10 Reasons Reading Makes You Feel Happier

by Julia Seales

Stephen King once said in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft that “books are a uniquely portable magic.” In A Dance With Dragons, George R. R. Martin says that “a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… the man who never reads lives only one.” And J.K. Rowling perhaps summed it up best when she said that “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” There are many reasons reading make you feel happier, and these authors definitely understand that.

So many writers and readers have professed their love of reading, and if you’re a fellow book-lover, you can relate to their statements. There’s something magic about opening a book and leaving the real world behind. When times are difficult, or you are going through a painful experience, or you just want to escape, the worlds in books are always waiting for you — books can literally help you take care of yourself.

Are literary worlds truly magic, or are there actual reasons why you feel happier while reading? Even after closing the cover of a book, you may notice that you are calmer and ready to tackle life. Whether you read for relaxation, motivation, or pure escapism, the truth is that reading can actually make you happier. Here are some of the ways that being a bookworm benefits your happiness, and why you should go out and get all the books.

You Can Travel Without Physically Going Anywhere

If what you really want to do is go on an extended vacation, but you're unable to do so, reading is a great way to escape without actually leaving you seat.

Reading Reduces Stress

Stress can be a major factor in unhappiness, but reading helps relieve some tension: you can reduce your stress by reading for just six minutes at a time. Imagine how amazing you'd feel if you read for six hours. Or six days straight.

It Can Put You In A Trance

"Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm," according to the New Yorker. Nothing promotes happiness like inner calm. And apparently, nothing promotes inner calm like reading a great book.

Reading Improves Empathy

Research shows that reading actually makes you more empathetic. If you are able to put yourself in another's shoes, this will lead to greater understanding. Hopefully, in the long run, that can help us work to create a better, fairer world, and thus, a happier one.

Reading Helps You Process What Is Happening In Reality

Writer Eileen Gunn says that "what science fiction does, especially in those works that deal with the future, is help people understand that things change and that you can live through it." So when things are difficult to process, fiction can actually help you escape... but it can also help you understand the world and get through difficult times.

You Don't Have To Spend Money To Read

Thanks to libraries, you can rent books for free! The phrase "free books" is certainly a happy one.

Reading Can Help You Sleep Better

Because of the many health benefits of reading, books can actually help you sleep better. And what's happier than sleep?

You Can Meet New Friends

Whether you're discussing books online or starting a book club to talk about the latest bestseller, you can find new friends by bonding over literature. These social connections will boost your happiness, and you'll get to read even more.

Books Can Open Your Mind

Books can lead to an open mind, which will increase your happiness: you can become more tolerant and less prejudiced by reading, according to a study on Harry Potter in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

Reading Can Reduce Depression

According to a UK study, readers are "21 percent less likely to experience feelings of depression." Books are literally happiness boosters, so read on, book-lovers!

Images: Giphy (10), Instagram/mybookbath (1)