— By Peter Yurek, BSc.Phm.

I find reading a simple and inexpensive way to improve my quality of life. However, in this highly technological world, perusing books and other materials for pleasure is often a forgotten activity.

Leisure reading has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and risk of dementia, improve wellbeing, increase empathy, improve relationships, and increase happiness.

Reading a variety of books and other materials helps me:

  1. Understand the world.
    • Books that expand my horizons also increase my empathy by cultivating an appreciation of other people and cultures.
  2. Become more self-aware.
    • Several types of reading materials assist in developing one’s identity. They increase the ability to see oneself in the world in diverse ways and opening up to new possibilities.
  3. Improve cognitive function.
    • Reading keeps me mentally active and increases my knowledge and vocabulary. It stimulates thinking and problem solving and encourages creativity.
  4. Feel better.
    • Enjoying a delightful book helps to calm me, to take me away from the daily grind and to relax me, often leading to a good night’s sleep. Bibliotherapy refers to a type of therapy that uses reading materials to help solve personal problems or even to treat mental disorders.

Reading is a straightforward way to improve one’s overall wellbeing. Just drop by your nearest library to borrow a book or two and get started on your way to feeling better!