It is well known that many people can’t seem to shut the lights off and go to sleep at night unless they’ve first sat back and relaxed with a good book. Something about that down time helps to get the body calm and in “sleep mode”. But the calming results from reading are not just for bedtime. Taking a good book with you on your lunch break, while passing the time at the library, or just sitting at the park, is a great way to settle the body down and relax.
The entire process of reading a good book requires that we slow down physically, hold still, and settle the body into a relaxed position. As we read, our heart rate begins to slow down, breathing slows and stabilizes, and muscle tension begins to relax as our attention is captured in the story line of our reading material.
In addition, the process of reading directs the mind to a point of concentration, which prevents distraction by all of the other potential worry thoughts that compete for our attention throughout the day.
When selecting reading as your mode of relaxation, be picky of the material you choose. There is a time and place for taking in the news of the day, or reading other business or personal information that has the potential to upset you. But when choosing reading material for your relaxation time, be sure it is something you enjoy. A novel, a magazine of special interest, or poetry if that is what relaxes you the most. What matters is that it's material that captures your mind and soul.