Can reading make you happier?

When you’re juggling everything that comes with modern living – balancing work, family and a social life whilst trying to drink 2 litres of water and squeeze in your five a day – reading is the last thing on the agenda. World Book Day is usually the annual reminder that books do in fact exist, but could picking up a good book be the solution to reducing anxiety and stress?

A quick Google search of ‘will reading make me happier?’ defines this method of self-care as bibliotherapy.

Better known as ‘Book Therapy’, bibliotherapy is the notion of reading or story telling with the purpose of healing. Making time to read everyday has been proven to improve your mental health and help you focus on something other than your own worries, letting you escape from your reality.

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We’re not talking about self-help books (even though they are great), all genres – fiction, non-fiction or even an in-depth article – are proven to increase your happiness.

Just the action of sitting and losing yourself in words is therapeutic and can act as an antidote for the fast-paced, ever-changing world of social media and the Internet. Half an hour of not refreshing your Instagram feed can only be a good thing…

Not only can picking up a book help you escape the world you’re living in, reading about other people’s lives and experiences can help you rewire the way you think about your own. Sometimes working through a character’s problems can help you figure out your own and allows you to be more empathetic towards others and most importantly, yourself.

So, with all the benefits for your mental health, we should make a little more time to pick up a book and practice bibliotherapy. Whether it’s during your commute to help relax you for the day, or just before bed for a calming way to get to sleep, it’s time that we all started to read a little bit more.


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