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Reading Can Make Us Happier – Here’s Why

2 MIN READ • 28th February 2019

From improved confidence and better relationships to sound sleep and an organised home, the secrets to good health can be found in a book

It’s easy to choose a trusty chick lit novel, but putting a bit more effort into your book choices means that you’ll get more than you bargained for.

    • The right choice “Someone once said to me that there was not enough time in their lifetime to read all the books they wanted to. That comment changed my life,” says mindfulness and meditation teacher Palma Michel ( “By choosing books that help you grow spiritually, emotionally, mentally and professionally, you can transform your life one book at a time. Books can comfort us in moments of hardship, they can make us happier, help us sleep better, improve our health, inspire us to change our careers or to be a better person. No matter what you want to learn, what you struggle with or what you would like to improve, there is a book out there from someone who has been there and wants to help you.”

    • Be mindful Find yourself easily distracted when trying to concentrate on a book? “Most of us are always ‘on’. We find it difficult to focus on one thing for a prolonged period of time, as we tend to check social media or get interrupted by message alerts from our various devices,” says Palma. “Our attention span is shockingly short and most of us don’t even read articles until the end, never mind reading a whole book. There is also a tendency to skip words and race through, as our time is so precious.
      As a result, we read in a superficial way and often remember very little of what we read. If you want to make the most of a book, speed-reading is of no value – it is all about comprehension and retention.” Try to read mindfully by making sense of what you are reading and comparing it to what you already know, plus how that fits into your life.

  • In the zone Try these top tips to master mindful reading:

    – Pause for a moment and ask yourself what would you like to learn about? What are you curious about? In which area of your life would you like to make changes, or which people or causes do you find interesting? Choose your book accordingly.
    – Leave your smartphone where you can’t see it.
    – After you read a chapter, pause and reflect on what you were reading.
    – If you are bored or distracted, stop reading, as the learning and retention will be at zero.
    – If the book contains exercises, pause and do them, rather than skipping them and thinking you will do them later (which hardly ever happens).
    – Notice when your attention becomes compromised and take a break from reading.

Meet the writer
Vicky Warrell
H&W deputy editor

As H&W's deputy editor, I'm lucky enough to cover everything from celebrities to skincare. At the weekend, I'm happiest when adding to my ever-expanding houseplant collection, swimming laps at my local lido, spending time with my family and... Discover more

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