Did you know that when you are feeling stressed, one of the best ways to help you relax is to read?  Even just six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds.

Surprisingly, in my view, research from Mindlab International at the University of Sussex has shown that reading works better and faster to calm nerves than other methods such as listening to music or going for a walk.

The reason for this psychologists believe is because the human mind has to concentrate on reading and with the mind being taken into a literary world, tensions in muscles and the heart are eased.

We all know that feeling of being transported to a faraway world with full of excitement and interesting people with no limitations on our dreams when reading a book.  This is another reason why reading fiction can be good for us in addition to all the non-fiction that small business owners tend to try to soak up.

However, by reading non-fiction such as motivational books, or those that deal with specific problems you are having such as losing weight, getting fit or organising a home, you can realise that you are not alone with your problem or frustration as other people understand how you are feeling. This can give you a sense of hope in solving your problem and provide encouragement to put plans in place a better future.

Reading biographies of successful people that illustrate how they overcame difficult situations against all the odds can inspire you and give you the inspiration to take on a new challenge that had previously seemed unobtainable.

Humorous books can make you laugh out loud – a great stress reliever in itself.

The research from Mindlab has shown that to reduce stress levels by up to 68% subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes. This was shown to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles and in fact, it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started.

So choose your reading material carefully and always carry a book with you (or your Kindle/iPad). When you feel you are in a moment of stress, take a few minutes out and go read. Transport yourself somewhere else that no one else can enter and enjoy the experience.