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When you need to soothe your nerves, do you listen to music, take a walk, or curl up with a hot cup of tea? Those are all effective ways to de-stress, but reading works even better.
It seems that the ultimate mode of relaxation may be losing yourself in the pages of a book. Experts believe they know why.
Reading requires the mind to concentrate; we become distracted from our everyday cares and slip into the world created on the pages of a book. Our body relaxes, and the tension held in our muscles, including the heart, is released.
Some researchers at the University of Sussex discovered how effective reading is for relaxation. Volunteer subjects had their heart rate and stress levels raised through a series of tests and exercises before engaging in several traditional relaxation methods. The scientists then measured the efficacy of each method for stress reduction:
Dr. David Lewis, neuropsychologist, concluded:
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.
It really doesn't matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author's imagination.
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