Discover how reading makes you happy
Although it may seem like a utopia, reading can make us happier. This topic has become a case study, the results of which show how the different positive factors generated by reading increase our levels of happiness.
An exploration of the benefits of reading
Quick Reads, in collaboration with Dr. Josie Billington of the University of Liverpool Research Center for Reading, Literature and Society, conducted a study commissioned by Galaxy, entitled “The Benefits to Adults of Regular Reading for Pleasure”.
This study explored the emotional, social, and psychological benefits of regular reading for pleasure for adults, and was conducted using a mixed method (quantitative and qualitative).
To begin with, a survey was carried out with the participation of 4164 adults divided equally between readers and non-readers, with filter questions determined by the two groups. The survey consisted of fourteen questions designed to obtain the participants’ perception of their general state of mind and well-being, levels of social interaction, decision-making capacity and empathy, as well as the establishment of reading habits in relation to other forms of leisure activity (watching television, using social media, etc.).
To complement the quantitative survey, 20 active readers were recruited for a reading challenge, in which they were invited to read a title of their choice from the Quick Reads series for 20 minutes every day for 10 days, keeping a daily report of: mood and well-being.
The results combine numerical and thematic analysis of quantitative data, along with individual case studies that emerge from the reading challenge.
The report found that just over half of the UK’s adult population read regularly for pleasure, women read more than men and retirees read more frequently. On the other hand, bedtime is the most popular reading occasion, half of the readers say that activity helps them sleep better.
Likewise, people who read regularly for pleasure reported fewer feelings of stress and depression compared to non-readers, and stronger feelings of relaxation when reading than when watching television, participating in social networks or reading other leisure material (for example, celebrity magazines, beauty or style).
Reading creates a parallel world in which personal anxieties can recede, while helping people realize that the problems they experience are not theirs alone. A fifth of respondents said reading helped them feel less alone.
Another finding indicates that nearly a third of adults are unsuccessful readers, who have not read since leaving formal education, or whose reading habits have been interrupted by health problems or a major life event (having a child for example). Almost half of readers with periods of inactivity cited lack of time as the reason they don’t read or don’t read more often.
On the other hand, those who read for pleasure also have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater capacity to face difficult situations. Readers have expanded models and repertoires of experience that allow them to look with new perspective and understanding about their own lives. Readers find it easier to make decisions, plan and prioritize, and this may be because they are better able to recognize that difficulty and setback are inevitable aspects of human life.
People who read regularly feel closer to their friends and community than those who read infrequently or non-readers. Reading not only produces greater understanding and empathy with others; it also provides an opportunity to share experiences meaningfully in ordinary social conversation.
Additionally, readers also presented a stronger and more committed awareness of social issues and cultural diversity than non-readers.
- Readers feel happier about themselves and their lives.
- Reading just 30 minutes a week can make a difference.
- Reading produces greater life satisfaction.
- Reading improves social connection and a sense of community spirit.
- Reading helps protect against and even prepare for life’s difficulties.
In short, reading makes you happier!