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The Bookblog / 30 June 2022

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Live Longer, Be Happier
“Social Media vs. A Good Book” is closer to “Spiralling Anxiety vs. Life-enhancing Restfulness” than you might expect.


There’s lot of research referenced in this short article, but let’s see if we can see the wood for the trees...

The benefits of reading are very very well known.

  • Just 30 minutes per day reading books extends your life by an average of 23 months.1
  • Reading a few minutes every day reduces stress by up to 68%.2
  • Poor reading directly correlates with general anxiety.3
  • Reading is consistently found to be the most restful and restorative thing you can do, above spa days, shopping, sleeping or sex.4

The problem is, we do everything on our phones... except reading books. Books don’t even figure in most people’s top twenty.5

Is it true that we don’t have time to read any more?

As of 2022, the global average time spent on social media per day is 147 minutes (2½ hours).6

You don’t need many of those minutes to make a huge change with immediate benefits.

  • Reducing social media usage reduces loneliness and depression.7
  • Swapping out social media for just one week leads to a wide range of improvements in mental health.8
  • And... uh... You already know it makes sense.

It’s simply a change of habit. Where’s the harm, eh?



References

1

A Chapter a Day – Association of Book Reading with Longevity, Journal of Social Science & Medicine, 2016, concluding “Book reading provides a survival advantage … regardless of gender, wealth, education, or health.”

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2

Mindlab International / University of Sussex, 2009 (original source not available).

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3

The effect of an integrated reading and anxiety intervention for poor readers with anxiety, National Library of Medicine, 2021, found reading improves vocabulary and spelling accuracy while proportionately reducing anxiety — directly linking poor reading and anxiety (“PRAX”).

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4

Rest Test survey, the world’s largest survey into people’s subjective experiences of rest, 2016.

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6

Daily social media usage worldwide (by all Internet users), Statista.com, 2022.

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7

No More FOMO: Limiting Social Media Decreases Loneliness and Depression, Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 2018.

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