How Reading Reduces Stress

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure for more info.

Everyone has their own methods for reducing stress, but there’s one that you might not have considered: reading. When we read a book or an article, our brains release serotonin and dopamine, two hormones that help us feel better. Plus, we’re distracted from the outside world and all its demands on us for just a little while. It’s like taking a break from reality and enjoying some peace and quiet in your head. All you need to do is pick up a good book or download one of the many free ebooks available today! We’ll explore how reading reduces stress and what else might be stressful.

Why is stress relief important?

We all experience stress from time to time, but too much of it can lead to anxiety and depression. In fact, if you’re feeling stressed out a lot these days, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.

Some symptoms of acute stress include nausea, heart palpitations, back pain, weight loss, or gain-and that’s just to name a few.

Luckily, reading can help you de-stress and get back to your life with renewed energy and alertness. What’s more, we’ll explore what other things might be contributing to your stress level so you can address them.

How reading reduces stress

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to read.

When we read a book or article, our brains release serotonin and dopamine. These two hormones give us feelings of peace, calmness, and happiness. And when you’re distracted from all reality for just a little while-not only are you getting some peace and quiet in your head but you’re also relieving yourself of stress.

Reading also can help us manage sleep disturbances that are caused by stressful situations. All you need to do is pick up a good book or download a free ebook and sit back with your tablet or iPad and enjoy!

What does reading do to your brain?

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on

Moving from one section of a book to another or flipping the pages not only releases serotonin and dopamine it provides many other benefits for our brains.

One of my favorite benefits of reading is the fact that it can improve memory. Reading gets your brain moving which is a good way to help you focus and concentrate.

Reading, just like physical exercise, is a great way to stimulate your brain. The more you do it the more your brain will be alert and energized.

What are the best books to read when you’re feeling stressed?

If you’re looking for a new book to read or one that will help you reduce your stress, here is a list of ten great options.

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho  

This fable-like story follows a young Spanish shepherd, Santiago, as he chases his dreams and desires in the Egyptian desert. It’s a great way to get out of your head for a little bit and see what you can learn from following your heart.

2. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller  

Written by a woman who won’t let anything hold her back, this book is an inspiring memoir about overcoming obstacles and going after what you want in life.

3. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert 

Traveling to Italy, India, and Indonesia, the author shares her personal story of finding herself after divorce and learning what it means to eat, pray, and love.

4. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry  

This philosophical tale follows a pilot who meets a little prince on his journey through the desert. It is full of life lessons that will leave you with something to think about long after you’ve finished it.

5. Walden by Henry David Thoreau  

At the time of this writing, this book is in the public domain and available for free download-and for good reason. It’s an insightful exploration of nature and its effects on our psyche that still holds true today.

6. Camino Island by John Grisham

When five prized original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts are stolen from a small, quiet town’s library, the thief-and what he decides to do with his ill-gotten gain-are described in this work of fiction.

7. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse  

This is not your average novel. Siddhartha is about a seeker of truth who goes through many adventures before he can find peace. It was inspired by the spiritual journey of Buddha, making it an excellent book for self-reflection that will help reduce your stress levels.

8. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins  

Not only are these books great for fans of The Twilight Zone, but they’re also excellent for anyone looking to escape reality. Set in a dystopian future where children are forced to participate in brutal survival games, the story is full of action and suspense and will keep you turning pages until the very end.

9. 1984 by George Orwell  

If your stress levels are due to your work environment, this book is for you. It takes place in an imaginary world where people are watched every second of the day by Big Brother.

10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger  

This novel follows Holden Caulfield through his journey to adulthood after he leaves prep school. If you’re tired of all the noise in your daily life, this novel will allow you to clear your head whenever you need it most.

What will you read next? Download one of these ten great books today!   

10 Tips for reducing your stress levels

There are so many ways to reduce stress while reading. Here are a few of my favorite other ways to reduce your stress levels.

1. Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth

2. Get plenty of sleep every night

3. Exercise regularly-even just walking counts!

4. Eat a healthy breakfast every morning

5. Stretch your neck and back to relax those tense muscles

6. Drink plenty of water throughout the day

7. Put away all cellphones and other distractions while you read or while doing whatever it is you need to get done!

8. Add some lavender essential oil to a bath before bed

9. Keep a book by your bedside and read before going to sleep

10. Repeat all of the above!


If you’re feeling stressed and looking for a way to de-stress, reading might be the answer. Reading is an easy way to reduce your stress levels by releasing serotonin and dopamine hormones that make us feel calm and happy. What’s more, there are many other factors contributing to our stress levels like sleep disturbances or poor eating habits. For this reason, it’s important we identify all of them so we can create a plan that will help alleviate these issues as well as keep our sanity intact! Which of these tips has helped you manage your own anxiety? Let us know in the comments section below.

Published by Melissa Jiggetts

I am a graphic designer who enjoys using my skills to help busy moms and teachers as myself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: