Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

How reading for pleasure could be the key to a less stressed and happier life

reading.jpg

We’ve always known that reading improves our intelligence; that if we read educational books we are more likely to become well-rounded human beings.

But, sometimes, when we’re squished between commuters on the central line at 7.45am, a book about Napoleon Bonaparte just doesn’t quite hit the spot. Sometimes we’re just in the mood for some real escapist pulp.

Well, it turns out that even these books have their benefits.

According to a new study, reading for pleasure could have an enormous impact on our everyday lives, and empower us to make more positive life changes.

The research, commissioned by Galaxy and conducted by the University of Liverpool on behalf of Quick Reads reveals that, not only are books brilliant and joyful escapism, but also that they can make us more tolerant and empathetic, and provide us with the confidence to make monumental life decisions.

matilda

50% of people reported feeling that reading made them more sympathetic to others

Results of the study reveal that over a quarter of adults – 27% - have been inspired to make positive life changes after reading.

Thirty six percent of people were inspired to go travelling from a book, 19% reported feeling inspired to seek out a new hobby, and 20% were motivated to take better care of their health.

Additionally, books were seen to influence the way we interact with others.



Fifty percent of people say that reading made them more sympathetic, and 17% say reading makes them more likely to react calmly during a disagreement.

The report also revealed the enormous impact reading had upon stress, with 41% of people considering it a better way to relax than hanging out with friends, and 38% citing it as their number one stress remedy.

People reported that when they felt an affiliation with a character in a book, it gave them comfort and made them feel better about their own lives, with 31% reporting books made them realise their were happy with their lives as they were.

bridget jones

Bridget Jones is the female character with whom most women identify

Interestingly, the characters which most inspired people were not the brave or loyal ones, but those who were written as flawed or funny – with women saying that the loveable Bridget Jones was the female character with whom they most identified.

The study also revealed that, although there are obvious health benefits to reading, the rise of the internet and smartphones had led to a decline in the past-time, with 35% of people admitting that they would like to read but are more likely to be distracted by television or the internet.



Lead researcher, Dr Josie Billington at the University of Liverpool, says that:

“What has been made abundantly clear by this research is that books can help us to enjoy the little things in life, and be happier in ourselves.

“It’s a useful and timely reminder for all of us to draw on the many benefits that only reading can deliver,” she says. 

The top 5 characters from bestselling novels most women identify with:

1) Bridget Jones

2) Harry Potter

3) Bella Swan, Twilight

4) Anna Fitzgerald, My Sister's Keeper

5) Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

The 2016 Galaxy Quick Reads are bite-sized books written by best-selling authors for £1. Available now from bookshops, supermarkets and online or libraries nationwide.

Related

Reading in bed.JPG

The book everyone lies about reading is not War and Peace

Katie_Piper5181A_rt.jpg

Katie Piper on the healing power of poetry and writing

happiness balloon.jpg

This is the optimum age for happiness in the UK

ThinkstockPhotos-480760831.jpg

Creature of habit? Why having a routine could boost your contentment

illustration 1.jpg

Small moments of solitude we all cherish in our fast, frenetic world

ThinkstockPhotos-505645924.jpg

Infographic helps you pick a novel for every mood, taste and interest

opener_rt.jpg

How to regain control of time when life gets busy

beatrix-potter-kitty-boots-penguin-book.jpg

10 favourite childhood reads as chosen by Stylist staff

fifty-shades-of-grey-1024.jpg

The latest cast member of the Fifty Shades trilogy has been announced

Comments

More

The nightmarish full trailer for The Handmaid's Tale has landed

Chilling

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017

Incredible quotes about mothers in literature

Tissues, at the ready...

23 Mar 2017

31 of the most uplifting lines from literature to brighten up any day

Literary pearls of wisdom for when you're despairing of the world.

by Hayley Spencer
20 Mar 2017

An eight-year-old has written a bestseller about her annoying brother

"Well, he's a little downright annoying," said Nia Mya

17 Mar 2017

Photographer depicts young girls at their most powerful

"Strength isn't always loud and feisty."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
14 Mar 2017

Bookshop makes powerful statement about the gender gap in fiction

"We’ve silenced male authors, leaving works of women in view.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
13 Mar 2017

Five beautiful poems to read when you need a good cry

Selected by Judi Dench, Elena Ferrante, Mariella Frostrup and more

by Sarah Biddlecombe
09 Mar 2017

Exclusive: JoJo Moyes is writing a third Lou Clark book

Get ready 'Me Before You' fans...

by Sarah Biddlecombe
09 Mar 2017

Meet your new booklist: The Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction longlist

Sixteen new reads to add to your list

by Francesca Brown
08 Mar 2017

Jo Cox’s husband is writing her memoirs

Jo Cox: More in Common will be published on the eve of the first anniversary of her death.

by Moya Crockett
06 Mar 2017