We've always felt that reading was a great way to relieve stress. A good novel allows you to escape from the real world, even if it's only for a little while. A recent study backs this up.
Picture: Alexandre Dulaunoy/Flickr
The folks at PsychCentral point to a recent study done at Emory University, which shows that novel reading enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function.
Published in the university's eScienceCommons blog on December 17, 2013 by Carol Clark, the lead author of the study and neuroscientist, Professor Gregory Berns, is quoted as saying, "The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist." Clark also writes that Berns notes how the neural changes weren't just immediate reactions, but persisted the mornings after the readings as well as for five days after participants completed the novel.
While escapism offers the obvious benefit of being able to distract you from your own reality for a little while, another part of escapism is being able to transport yourself into the characters you're reading about, the chance to vicariously solve their problems and experience the success they achieve.
In the end, what have you got to lose but a little time reading a nice book?
Why Novel Reading Reduces Anxiety [PsychCentral]