Enhanced empathy, reduced stress, and more: The benefits of reading for fun

By: Josephine Naghavie

Published on: June 17th, 2024

Photo Courtesy: Vincenzo Malagoli (Pexels)

Enhanced empathy, reduced stress, and more: The benefits of reading for fun

Reading for fun is an activity that can not only provide immense joy but also confers numerous benefits to mental health and creativity. Engaging with books purely for the enjoyment of it can be a powerful tool to enhance well-being, stimulate the mind, and unlock creative potential.

Tag along to learn more about all the positive mental health benefits associated with recreational


Stress reduction

Reading can be a form of escapism, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in another world and momentarily step away from the stresses of daily life. A study by the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress levels by up to 69%, outperforming other relaxation methods.

The next time you find yourself feeling stressed and overwhelmed, reach for your favourite book or check out a new read. You’ll be amazed at how relaxed and calm you feel afterwards.

Sleep quality

Establishing a bedtime reading routine can signal to the body that it’s time to wind down and relax, leading to improved sleep quality.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends reading as a calming pre-sleep activity, especially if one engages with physical books rather than screens, which can emit sleep-disrupting blue light. However, with the escalation in technology, there are now e-readers that have night lights so that they do not become harsh on your eyes in the dark.

Empathy and understanding

Books can offer readers a chance to experience life from different perspectives, creating empathy and a deeper understanding of others.

Studies have established connections between reading fiction and better performance on widely used empathy and social acumen tests.

Enhancing your empathy and understanding of others will likely improve your relationships and give you a greater sense of connection with others.

Engagement and brain health

Reading engages the brain’s neurons in complex ways. It can stimulate areas of comprehension, concentration, and analytical thinking. This mental exercise can help maintain cognitive functions as we age.

It also may help reduce the risk of some diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and build a bigger bank of vocabulary that can be used in conversation in the outside world.

Enhancing creativity

Reading for fun can also profoundly impact creativity. It exposes you to a diverse range of stories and ideas, and it even encourages you to write your own stories. 

Individuals can stimulate their imagination by reading about different worlds, characters, and scenarios. This simulation offered through reading can spark individuals’ imagination and inspire new and creative ideas in their own lives and work.

Reading can also broaden your perspective and exposure to varied genres and authors, encouraging creative thinking and problem-solving by presenting multiple viewpoints and solutions to problems.

It can also help with language skills, improve vocabulary, and provide a greater toolbox of words and phrases. Not only does it allow you to engage with complex ideas and narratives, but it also promotes reflective thinking. This directly aids in the development of a deeper and more nuanced creative concept.

Reading is important, whether you prefer fiction or nonfiction. Immersing yourself in words on the page is essential for your daily life.

Below you’ll find some recommendations of some more recent books to try out. However, it’s important to note that everyone’s interests are different. Don’t feel pressured to read the latest bestseller. Find a book that interests you and keeps you engaged. This way, you’ll feel motivated to keep reading!






Graphic novels Biographies

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