I went to the doctor for a check up the other day and she asked me what my stress level was on a scale of 1-10.  She was shocked when I said one.  She said no one has ever said that before.  I don’t feel like I handle stress well so I avoid it.  It seems like a logical life strategy to me.

I was talking to my mother about this later and said, “I mean, it’s not like I’m a political prisoner in a prison camp.  I think if that’s a 10 then I’m correct in saying that my life is a one.”

She said, “I don’t think most people take that into consideration on their scales.”

What?  They don’t? Really?

Have they not read The Fault in Our Stars and know that you have to save your 10 for something so bad you can’t even imagine it?

I said, “What if the vampire has gotten a hold of me and is about to kill me?”

“Not on most people’s list.”

“What if I’m being kicked out of my house with my dog and a suitcase and am going to be homeless?”

“Also very bad but not on most people’s lists.”

“Maybe I read too much.”

Maybe reading has put some serious worst-case 10 out of 10 on the stress level scenarios in my mind.  I’ve never died of cholera, had to flee an orphanage with 27 toddlers due to a war , lost a leg in an accident, had police dogs turned on me, turned into a tree, lost my job for being a rabble rouser, or had an entire species turn against me.  Those are just a few of the books from the last 6 months.  My life is pretty darn good compared to what I read about all the time.

Does anyone else think this is true?  What would be your level 10 based on your reading?


13 Replies to “How Books Lower Your Stress Level”

  1. I enjoyed reading your post. I think a lot of people get wrapped up in their problems and forget just how bad other people have it. Since I am a sociologist, I read a lot about problems. Books, on the other hand, are an escape for me. I guess I don’t see book characters as real people so it really doesn’t factor into my thinking.
    Books That Hook

  2. I haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars, because I avoid cancer books, but I have the same attitude. I also have cancer, for 12 years, and my attitude is “suck it up”. This is what life gave you, so deal with it. I think that’s part of my low stress level. When people make the sad cancer face at me I say, “Hey! It’s not ALS.” Which to me is way worse than cancer. I don’t know if knowledge and imagination from reading has given me a low stress level or the way I was raised, but I like the way I think.

  3. HAHAHA I’m seriously dying right now!!! This is totally not what I was expecting this post to be, and it’s so, so much better!

  4. Reading definitely decreases my stress. I can be completely keyed up, but if I settle down with a good book, it calms me, gets me quiet and relaxed. Honestly, I hate to imagine how I would be without books. And reading has definitely told me I’ve never had a 10 yet, and probably won’t if I judge by what happens in some of the books I read. LOL!

  5. Yes, I totally agree that reading reduces stress levels. I can zone out when I read and forget about life entirely. I also think that being voracious readers we open ourselves up to so many experiences, whether they were real-life events or fictionalized, and I do agree that it can change how you view your own personal rating scale.

  6. Lol! I thought this post would be another discussion on how reading can reduce your stress levels through the act of reading, but I thought your take on it was even better!

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