Reading is Therapeutic

Mary Keeley

Blogger: Mary Keeley

I’ve always found May to be a killer month of merging the family’s spring sports schedules, end-of-school-year events, wedding showers, and graduations with my normal work calendar and church commitments. I’m naturally task-oriented, which translates to adding more without taking anything away. I have a habit of working until late into the night to reduce the stress of keeping up with it all. Last week I did something counter-intuitive. I added more reading to my to-do list and experienced tangible ways that reading is therapeutic.

Most of us aren’t equipped to maintain a non-stop pace for long, and historically I hit the wall by the end of May. This year I could see it coming once again but stopped in my tracks and plotted a different approach.

In addition to the extra May items on last week’s schedule, I deliberately Pleasure reading1read two novels. It was a test. We all enjoy reading for its relaxing, quiet pleasure. I decided to take it a step further to identify if reading actually is therapeutic in practical, productive ways.

Yes, by adding the extra reading time I was up late into the night, but the distraction of being completely absorbed in a story was better stress relief than the sleep I missed. Each morning I found myself:

  • Physically more relaxed
  • Emotionally calmer, less overwhelmed by my day’s to-do list
  • Mentally sharper and recharged for work

Bible readingI also spent more than the usual time in the Bible this past week. In his sermon last Sunday my pastor encouraged us to read and meditate on Chapter 15 in John’s Gospel. There is depth in that chapter that is easy to overlook until I read it over and over each day. I won’t expound. What I found will be different than what you might discover through that exercise because the Holy Spirit is so wonderfully personal.

Replacing my late-night work habit with extra pleasure-reading time resulted in being more productive during the day. I accomplished the same amount of work in less time and had a more relaxing finish to each day.

Am I a slow learner? Have you already experienced positive results by increasing your reading time? If you are task-oriented like I am, how do you de-stress? What is your busiest month of the year? Will you try this experiment to see if you experience the same tangible results? Which kinds of books or genres are your favorites for pleasant distraction?


Reading is not only a pleasant pastime; one experiment found it’s therapeutic for busy times. Click to Tweet.

Recharge mentally, physically, and emotionally by adding more reading to an already busy schedule. Click to Tweet.