The Power of Words Here are some reasons why we’re big fans of reading: Reading is a pleasure. Reading a good book can be a wonderful experience. You can get completely absorbed in another life, culture or time. Being immersed in another ‘world’ can provide respite from everyday stresses and worries. You can do it more-or-less anywhere. Other than the book itself (and maybe a pair of glasses!) you don’t need any specialist equipment to read. A small paperback kept in a bag or pocket can be brought out when you’re on the bus or if you’re getting anxious in the GP waiting room. Reading can reduce stress. Losing yourself in a good book has been shown to reduce stress levels, by reducing the heart rate and easing muscle tension. Reading helps us develop empathy for others Reading fiction has been shown to improve people's levels of empathy and their ability to understand other people's beliefs, feelings and thoughts. Reading works the brain and prevents memory loss Participating in cognitive activities such as reading, over your life time (both early and later in life) has been shown to slow down memory loss when compared to those who haven’t participated in mentally stimulating activities. We love reading groups! Research suggests that talking about what we’ve read could be beneficial to mental health and wellbeing. Liverpool Health Inequalities Research Institute studied a reading group programme for people diagnosed with depression over a 12-month period. Participants reported improved concentration, better emotional understanding, increased self-awareness and the ability to discuss meaningful issues related to self and being.