A recent article in The New Yorker titled “Is Reading the New Therapy?” discusses the use of bibliotherapy to treat such ailments as a a broken heart or career uncertainty. The method of bibliotherapy has been traced back as far as the ancient Greeks, who inscribed above a library entrance that it was “a healing place for the soul.” The international School of Life, a network of bibliotherapists, cites life-junction transitions as the most common presenting issues — including being bereaved, a new parent, or a recent retiree.
The article also presents research as to how and why reading can be good for your mental health and your relationship with others. Reading can increase our capacity to be empathic and has been shown to have benefits similar to meditation: a pleasurable, trance-like state, as well as relaxation and deep calm. Other benefits include improved sleep, lower stress levels, higher self-esteem and lower rates of depression.
So be sure to make some time to read if you are drawn to do so — the benefits may be quite significant!