Reading as an altered state of consciousness

A nice thought this for a blog which to a large degree revolves around reading and commenting on books.

A friend pointed this out to me the other day (thks SS)


And it works better and faster than other methods to calm frazzled nerves such as listening to music, going for a walk or settling down with a cup of tea, research found.

Psychologists believe this is because the human mind has to concentrate on reading and the distraction of being taken into a literary world eases the tensions in muscles and the heart.

Reading reduces stress levels by 68 per cent

Subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles. In fact it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started.

Dr Lewis, who conducted the test, said: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.”This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism.

“It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.

“This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.”

So what good altering state of consciousness books have you been reading lately?

And I somehow doubt that reading for assignments at college counts!


2 thoughts on “Reading as an altered state of consciousness

  1. Heard her interviewed on RTE – interesting that much of it inspired by and ‘written through’ her young son. Saw your review of Oryx and Crake Glenn – I’ve just finished The Year of the Flood. Don’t think it reduced stress – too depressing!

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