Want to beat stress? Curl up with a good book

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When it comes to relaxing at the end of a busy day, reading a book is one of the most effective ways of beating stress.

Curling up with a good book is about more than simply passing the time – reading improves memory, boosts concentration and helps combat stress and anxiety. Academics at the University of Sussex found that reading could reduce stress levels by up to 68 per cent, making it more effective than listening to music or drinking a cup of tea.

The escapism offered by fiction can provide a welcome distraction from the stresses and strains of everyday life and setting aside just 30 minutes to read a day can have a significant impact on wellbeing. Today (September 6) is Read a Book Day so kick off your shoes, lay back in your La-Z-Boy sofa and try one of these stress-busting titles:

  1. Bedtime Stories for Stressed Out Adults – by various authors and introduced by Lucy Mangan

Bedtime stories aren’t just for children – building in some time to read as part of your regular night-time routine can help prepare you for a good night’s sleep. This book is a collection of short stories, extracts and poems which have been selected to help calm busy and anxious minds.


  1. Winnie the Pooh – A.A Milne

Returning to the comfort of a childhood favourite is a great way of escaping the realities and burdens of adult life. A.A Milne’s famous stories of Winnie the Pooh are not just cute tales about a teddy bear, they also include a lot of wisdom and life lessons. The friendship of the characters, who all care for each other despite having very different personalities, gives the classic book a timeless feel-good factor.


  1. Calm by Fearne Cotton

If fiction isn’t really your thing, this self-help book by TV presenter and radio DJ Fearne Cotton might help restore your sense of inner peace. Full of tips, ideas and activities designed to promote wellbeing and mental health, Calm aims help you work through the stresses of day-to-day life.


  1. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

This novel about an elderly writer who has spent years trying to reunite lost things with their rightful owners is charming, heart-warming and emotional. Dealing with big issues like love, grief and loss, it demonstrates the importance of hope and second chances.


  1. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend

Laughter is a fantastic way of beating feelings of stress so choosing a funny book which will make you giggle will help you unwind and forget about your problems. Sue Townsend’s classic tale of teenage angst from the 1980s still packs plenty of punch and will have you relieved to have left adolescence behind.

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