Discover how reading can make a difference to how you feel, and how libraries can make that happen
Libraries across Wales are fabulous, free, community hubs where every person who walks through the door is welcome. And when you go inside it can feel simply magical – a place to connect and relax with others, explore events and activities and, of course, read and feel all the benefits reading brings.
"Reading is an easy way back to ourselves and one another when times are tough. Stories can be a route map to wellbeing and a way to connect with ourselves, our family and other people we haven’t even met yet..."
- Reading enhances feelings of calm and confidence. It helps give children and young people the ability to connect imaginatively with others, even when they’re not physically with them.
- Reading provides escapism and relief. It can take us all away from difficult times, while helping us understand our emotions and why they go into overdrive on tough days.
- Reading can reduce stress, and acts as a safety valve against anxiety. A study of teens showed reading helped them to understand their own emotions and personal reactions to current social issues or world events. In fact, when young people ranked their top reasons for reading, they included relaxation and the chance to feel better about themselves and their lives. Libraries already have some fabulous Reading Well booklists endorsed by health professionals which you can discover in your local branch.
- Reading can bring you closer to your heroes or make you laugh out loud with friends or family. You can discover stories that help you better understand what you're feeling right now, that give voice to your experience or emotions, or help you escape into unexplored or imaginary worlds. When it comes to relaxation, research shows your reading content doesn’t matter. You can read whatever you enjoy.
- Reading can open up new interests and feed your hobbies. Where might you like to go… foreign countries, space, different worlds? Would you like to explore fashion, science, sport or nature? What about music, film or dance? Reading opens a portal to an infinite number of worlds. Maybe you’d like to work in one of these fields one day. Or just enjoy being there in the moment. You choose the destination – the book is your vehicle.
- Reading can connect you to others, either as part of a reading group or just by talking about books. Reading with children has a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Have a look which reading groups you can join through your local library. Evidence shows that being in a reading group helps promote relaxation, calmness, concentration, quality of life, confidence and self-esteem, as well as building feelings of shared community and common purpose. As you step into 2022 and look to reconnect with your community (and the interest groups who make it their home), your library is the best place to start.
Research compiled by The Reading Agency. For references please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.