Bibliotherapy: reading makes us happier (science says so)
Literature helps us to improve our psychological health.
Reading can be a great experience if we immerse ourselves in an exciting novel. and it can also make us smarter if we spend our time reading about topics that bring us new knowledge. Our readers know this, and that is why they follow us and visit us every day.
And the fact is that reading, besides being entertaining, can be a great source of information. But science has gone further and discovered new benefits of reading: according to various studies, reading makes us happier.Do you need more reasons to keep devouring books?
In today's article, we will talk precisely about the relationship between reading and happiness and the effect that the bibliotherapy Interesting, isn't it? But first of all, we want to help you to be happier, that's why we are going to recommend you some posts that you can't miss:
- The 50 recommended books you should read throughout your life.
- The 20 best books on psychology you can't miss
- 5 psychology books to read this summer
- The 10 best self-help and personal improvement books
Science confirms it: reading makes us happier
But what exactly does science say about happiness and reading? Well, in a nutshell, science says that reading improves our emotional and physical well-being and helps us cope with life. According to the results of a study conducted by the University of Rome III, regular readers are happier and more satisfied. Not only that, but they are also less aggressive and more optimistic. The researchers analyzed the data provided by 1,100 subjects who were interviewed. And to carry out the study, they used different indexes: such as Veenhoven's happiness measurement or the Diener scale. The latter records the degree of satisfaction with life.
On the other hand, according to an article in the newspaper El Paíswhich echoed research conducted by a team of neuroscientists at Emory University (Atlanta), reading helps reduce stress and increases emotional intelligence (mainly self-knowledge and empathy) and psychosocial development.
Bibliotherapy: therapy through books
"Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem and less depression," according to an article in The New Yorker that discusses bibliotherapy, a therapeutic method or resource based on fostering different skills that improve people's well-being and relationship with others, taking into account that of patients' interpretation of book content.
"Reading puts our mind in a pleasant state of mind, similar to meditation, and brings the same benefits as deep relaxation," states the same article. Those people who enjoy page after page when they read books may not be surprised to learn that reading has many benefits for mental and physical health..
Bibliotherapists are aware of the benefits of reading, which is why these professionals recommend a number of specific books to their patients. Bibliotherapy can have different forms of application. For example, one-to-one in the patient-therapist relationship, or courses for elderly people with dementia or prisoners. One of the best known forms is "affective bibliotherapy", which focuses on the therapeutic power of reading fiction. Sometimes it is difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of others, but it does not cost much to put ourselves fully in the role of a character.
Bibliotherapy improves the capacity for empathy
Bibliotherapists Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin told The New Yorker that this practice dates back to ancient Greece, where one could see, at the entrance to the Theban bookstore, a sign that read: "place of the book.a sign that read: "place of healing for the soul". So for those who think that reading is for lonely people, know that you are wrong.
"We have begun to identify how literature is able to improve people's social skills," he explains to The New Yorker Keith Oatley, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto in the United States. Research has shown that "reading fiction literature improves the perception of empathy, which is crucial to theory of mind: the ability to attribute thoughts and intentions to other people."
You can learn more about theory of mind in this great article by psychologist Adrian Triglia: "Theory of Mind: what is it and what does it explain about us?"
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)