Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Books in a time of plague

About books that can help reduce stress:
...[Re]-reading our old favourite books can be comforting when life feels uncertain: “When you’re looking for something easy and digestible, reading a book you have already read can help because you know the scenarios – you don’t have to invest in learning new characters, or situations. This sense of nostalgia makes us feel safe.” While book genres are entirely a matter of personal preference, Chambers says that thrillers and adventure stories are good options to tuck into during the pandemic, because they "take the reader on a journey" outside of the one they are already living through. ....

“Reading lowers our cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate, by anchoring us in the present. Some books are so melodic that they trigger the flow state, which is where we are completely engaged in a mindful activity to the point where we start to lose sensation of time,” says Chambers. ....

...[W]hen an adult reads to a child, or (vice versa) there's usually physical contact and cuddling happening: “Biologically, this causes a flooding of oxytocin (the bonding hormone), which makes us feel good, and its presence in the bloodstream has been linked to lower rates of depression, anxiety and stress. In a world where both children and adults are more anxious than ever, this is crucial for mental wellbeing.” ....
One of their recommendations for reducing stress was P.G. Wodehouse. That's a fine suggestion. I might choose Manning Coles or John Buchan for re-reading.

The science of a good bedtime read – and the books that will help you sleep more soundly

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