Reading can help college students reduce stress during finals

Ashley Cope, Reporter

As final’s week approaches at California Lutheran University, many students may feel stressed or overwhelmed with projects and tests. It is important for students to take breaks and get away from their studies to help relieve stress. The perfect way for students to do so is through reading, not through academic reading but through reading for pleasure. 

“Reading is definitely a de-stressor. I actually do more reading than I do homework and I feel that can add to my stress but I think more so it helps me to calm down and realize that I need to step away from my studies if I feel like I am in ‘student mode’ for too long,” junior D’Ajah Haynes said. 

Haynes is an avid book reader herself, with a Youtube channel called The Black Belle dedicated to her love of reading. She is one of many college students who finds a break from their studies through reading and connecting with similar book lovers on social media subcommunities such as book-tube, book-tok, and book-stagram. Communities on these social media platforms are dedicated to the love of books and reading for young adults. 

“I like to talk about my thoughts on specific books I’ve read recently on there. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of subscribers or anything like that but it’s just a really good outlet for me to discuss all my thoughts on the books I’ve been reading because I don’t have a lot of peers in my life that enjoy books as much,” Haynes said. 

According to a Washington Post article, Leisure reading in the U.S. is at an all-time low, said that reading for pleasure has fallen by 30% since 2004, with only 19% of Americans aged 15 and older reading for fun. With the rise of technology, reading has been replaced by new forms of entertainment, with the average American spending two hours and 45 minutes watching television every day.

These social media subcommunities for book readers can really be a place for students to connect with each other and help motivate young adults to read for pleasure. This is a great way for people to share their love of reading in the modern world. 

According to an article published by Mental Health First Aid said, “Research by Dr. David Lewis showed that reading as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by 60% by reducing your heart rate, easing muscle tension and altering your state of mind. That same study showed that reading was better at reducing stress than music, drinking a cup of tea, going for a walk and playing video games.” 

This is why college students should consider picking up a book for pleasure this finals season. In my opinion, it is a great way to relax from studying and the stress of classes while also reducing screen time. I believe it is important for students to find a balance between studying, work, and other activities. 

“Advice to people who want to start reading, they should start with poetry books maybe or graphic novels because those are both really good ways to find how an artist writes or how an author writes,” Haynes said. 

For those interested in picking up a book as we wrap up the finals season, consider checking out a book from the local Thousand Oaks Public Library or Pearson Library on campus. Both are free options for students who want to start reading for pleasure.