Reading to Reduce Stress and Treat Depression

Bibliotherapy can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks. Given the name in 1916 the word is given to the ancient practice of encouraging reading to achieve a therapeutic effect.


Sigmund Freud used literature during his psychoanalysis sessions and after the war soldiers were sometimes prescribed a course of reading. Librarians were even trained by the state to work with the soldiers in finding appropriate reading materials. Bibliotherapy has been used in a variety of ways, such as hospitals and libraries. More recently. Psychologists, social and aged-care workers, and doctors have taken up bibliography as a viable mode of therapy.


Modern Bibliotherapy is something that is now practiced worldwide and takes many different forms. From literature courses run for prison inmates to reading circles for elderly people suffering from dementia. Sometimes it can simply mean one-on-one or group sessions for “lapsed” readers who want to find their way back to an enjoyment of books.


Book clubs are a good way for Mom’s to get together and unwind. It is a good way to socialize with like-minded women who will be experiencing the same day-to-day stresses as you. Being part of a group also helps to encourage you to participate and set aside a few hours a week to focus on yourself and your mental wellbeing.


Once you start reading books you will find it so relaxing and enjoyable. You will want to read more and more. There are books on everything and it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. You can visit your local library and rent a book for free, go to a flea market and pick up some second hand books, visit a goodwill store or get them really cheap at an online auction site.


Avid readers will not be surprised to hear that reading books can be beneficial to your mental health. But after research on the effects reading has on the brain, we now know exactly why and how it works.


When we perform an action or when we see an action performed by someone else mirror neurons fire in our brains. So think of it as a sort of workout for your coping skills. You work the muscles (neurons) during your book reading sessions, which make them, perform better when you need them in real life.


In 2013 a study showed that people who like to read literary fiction had the ability to empathize more with others and an improved social perception. This is the ability to accurately guess what another human being is thinking or feeling.


Apart from the benefit of us being able to improve our relationships with people as a result of reading fiction, there is also evidence to prove that it puts our brains into a pleasurable state, much like meditation, leaving you with a sense of relaxation and inner calm. People that read regularly tend to sleep better and have lower stress levels. They have also shown to have a higher self-esteem and lower depression rates compares to those non-readers.