Reading benefits your mental health

Reading benefits your mental health

Book lovers like those of us at Columba don’t need convincing to curl up with a good book, but if you’re having trouble finding the motivation to read, new research linking the act of reading for pleasure to better brain and mental health could give you the push you need to pick up that paperback you bought from our catalogue ages ago.

A recent study from the University of Sussex has found reading to be more effective at reducing stress than listening to music, drinking a cup of tea or going for a walk. Cracking open a good book helps us escape from the daily stresses of life and focus instead on the world created within the book we’re reading. This time away from ‘reality’ is hugely beneficial not only because of the escape it provides, but also because it sparks creativity, something that is also key to maintaining good mental health.

Reading is also linked to a slower cognitive decline in later years of life and helps prevent dementia. We also can’t forget the meditative quality to reading; when you get truly engrossed in a book, you are only focusing on that one story, and in doing so, you are removing the distractions and other excessive stimuli that normally populate your environment. This meditative state decreases feelings of stress, and, as we all know, meditation is the key to mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

Though the genre of book you’re reading doesn’t make a significant difference to the beneficial effects of reading, researchers emphasise that the most important thing is to really get sucked into a book. Find a genre or author you love and allow yourself to get lost in the words. Below are some suggestions for books to sink your teeth into. You can buy all 3 books for just €35 through our  Positivity Bundle offer. Call us at 01 687 4096 to get your copies today!


Tired of All the Bad News by Fr Bryan Shortall
If you’re trying to back into the habit of reading, there’s no better way to start than with an uplifting book that will leave you feeling positive about life, people, and, of course, the written word. Fr Bryan Shortall shares blog posts he has written, homilies he has preached, and stories he’s heard throughout his time as a priest in Dublin, all of which are short enough to read during a lunch break or bus ride home, making this the perfect book for the busy bookworm!



CoverGold Collection by Fr Brian D’Arcy
If you’re a long-time follower of Columba, the Sunday World, or RTE, chances are you’ve heard the eloquent musings of Fr Brian D’Arcy, whose many years of experience in preaching for over 40 years has made him a boundless resource of wisdom on the Word of God. This collection combines many of his most helpful broadcasts and columns, making this the perfect book for readers looking for short, inspiring pieces from one of Ireland’s wisest religious commentators.


All Will Be Well by Fr Paddy Byrne
If your current reading habits are mostly confined to Twitter and Facebook, Fr Paddy Byrne’s short pieces on topics that speak to the modern zeitgeist are a great way to ease back into the habit of reading off-screen. In this his first book, he draws on his years of parish ministry and pastoral care to outline the challenges we face, while offering hope and inspiration through reflections, stories, parables and prayers to help readers to overcome life’s obstacles and lead them towards what he sees as a positive future