Summer evenings and reading are a match made in heaven. Not only is reading enjoyable, it also has a positive effect on your mental well-being: According to studies, reading reduces depressive moods and even lowers mortality rates. The OpenUp editorial team has curated our top 2023 book recommendations for you to enjoy this summer; from psychology, neuroscience, and mindfulness.
Let’s look at why reading is so important for your overall well-being and how you can incorporate reading into your daily life.
📚 Want to go straight to the book tips? → This way, and have fun reading!
”Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.”
– Mary Schmich
Why reading is good for your mental well-being
When it comes to improving your well-being, it doesn’t make much difference what you read, but that you read. A 2009 study by the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%.
Particularly during covid-19 lockdowns, many people reached for a book. During a study, 43% of UK respondents said that reading helps reduce their stress. There’s a good reason for this: just 30 minutes of reading lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of mental stress just as effectively as yoga.
🧘 Looking for more tips on how to switch off? Learn more about embracing slow living and practising self-care.
But reading doesn’t just positively affect your well-being. In the long run, it also improves your ability to concentrate because when you read, you immerse yourself in a story and leave all distractions behind you. As you learn from different protagonists’ perspectives, reading helps you understand others better. And that’s not all!
Here are more reading benefits at a glance:
- Reading reduces stress and depressive moods
- Reading improves memory and concentration
- Reading is a healthy form of escapism and transports you to different worlds
- Reading (fiction) improves your empathy and social skills
- Reading reduces feelings of loneliness
“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives.” – Roald Dahl.
OpenUp’s seven book recommendations for the summer
Are you still looking for reading material for your holidays or warm summer evenings? The OpenUp editorial team recommends these seven books:
1. ‘Mindwandering’ – Moshe Bar
Do you often find yourself daydreaming, worrying about the future out of the blue, or preoccupied with your wandering thoughts? This is called ‘mindwandering.’ This is how we spend around 47% of our waking time. In his book ‘Mindwandering,’ cognitive neuroscientist Moshe Bar discusses the proven benefits and positive effects of mindwandering.
2. ‘Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art’ by James Nestor
Even if you’re healthy, if you don’t breathe properly, your health will be compromised; according to this book’s thesis. In “Breath,” journalist James Nestor travels the world to discover why humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly and what practices can help fix it. From Soviet institutions to choir schools in New Jersey to the streets of Sao Paulo, Nestor’s book takes you on a journey around the globe to learn more about how small changes in breathing can enhance your health.
👉 Want to improve your breathing? Try out these three simple breathing exercises: 3 Breathing Exercises to Instantly Calm You Down (In Under 5 Minutes)
3. ‘The Choice: Embrace the Possible’ by Edith Eger
The Choice” is the memoir of Holocaust survivor Edith Eger. In the book, she tells how she was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 as a 16-year-old and barely survived. The Choice” is primarily about Eger’s life-affirming strength and immense resilience that helped her come to terms with the horrors of the Holocaust.