Start a new chapter of wellbeing

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Published: Saturday 14th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Reading a book can be extremely beneficial to our health and wellbeing, yet a large number of us don’t make time for stories.

New research for the latest batch of Galaxy Quick Reads – bite-sized books by well-known authors, designed to ease people back into reading for pleasure – suggests reading for as little as 30 minutes a week can make a big difference.

It reveals people are less likely to suffer from low mood and are 20% more likely to be satisfied with their lives if they pick up a book, be it a mystery, fantasy, romance, science fiction, thriller or whatever.

Those who make time to read also benefit from getting a better night’s sleep than those that don’t (43%), while others have reported a boost to their self-esteem (10%) and fewer feelings of loneliness (19%).

A massive 42% of the 16 million lapsed readers in the UK cited a lack of time as the main reason for not reading a book.

But many of us still manage to find time in our busy schedules to check emails, scroll through notifications on social media and watch hour upon hour of television, so why is it so hard to squeeze in a story?

After all, reading a book will ultimately do us more good than staring at a screen.

Ella Berthoud, co-author of , is a life-long advocate of the power of reading to transform and heal.

At the School Of Life in London and through their website, she and her fellow bibliotherapist, author Susan Elderkin, prescribe works of fiction to their ‘patients’ who come to them wanting to feel better.

From those who’ve lost someone they loved to frightened fathers-to-be and new mums up all night feeding, the duo recommends a novel – or a combination of novels – to help their ease pain and suffering.

To Kill A Mockingbird by author Harper Lee, for example, helps you to understand the morality of racism and the morality of bullying someone who is a recluse. It lets you see things from their point of view.

But it needs to be fiction, not a self-help book. Fiction speaks to your subconscious brain, not your conscious brain. It’s a much deeper experience that changes you in a way that you don’t realise what’s happening.

Self-help books tend to repeat the same things over and over again, whereas great works of literature don’t. They aren’t repetitive. They don’t drill things into you. Instead you pick things up by yourself.

Books come down to personal preference. Ones that hook certain people in will not grab others in the same way. Never carry on reading a book that you’re not enjoying. Simply ditch it and pick up another.

Once you’ve found an author that you like, stick with them for a bit. Read other books that they’ve written. The same goes for genres. Reading will become a more natural habit if you engage with what you’re reading.

Before you know it, you’ll be putting your feet up with a book rather than watching television.

Copyright Press Association 2015

Published: Saturday 14th February 2015 by The News Editor

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