7 Benefits of Audiobooks for Mental Health

7 Benefits of Audiobooks for Mental Health

A great way to improve mental focus is by listening to audio books. It exercises your brain as you try to figure out the plot and keep track of all the characters involved.

According to one study, participation in audio book presentation sessions reduced interpersonal sensitivity, somatic complaints, obsessive-compulsive, aggression, paranoid ideation, and psychosis among the elderly.

1. Improved Focus

For people who struggle to find time for traditional reading, audiobooks can be a lifesaver. With a good narrator, they can help immerse listeners in the story by adding character voices, describing settings, and even using dramatic narrations. This allows listeners to visualize what they’re hearing, which enhances understanding and engagement.

Whether you’re on a boring commute or doing chores around the house, audiobooks can help you focus by distracting your mind from monotonous tasks. They can also help you learn new things, especially if the book is related to work or hobbies.

A good narrator can also keep you engaged during long drives or tedious commutes, according to research from the University of Guelph. Often, collisions occur due to fatigue while driving, so keeping your attention focused on the road is important for safe driving.

For some people, reading can be challenging because of visual impairments like dyslexia or a lack of focus. However, listening to a good audiobook can provide the same enjoyment as reading. Moreover, it can be easier to concentrate on an audiobook than reading because the content can be repeated and reinforced in your brain. This helps you build your vocabulary, increase your learning speed, and improve your mental health.

2. Relieves Stress

Audiobooks help to relieve stress by distracting you from your thoughts. While reading engages the left brain, listening activates both hemispheres. This helps to increase cognitive performance and prevent dementia. Listening to audiobooks can also reduce anxiety, mood swings and irritability and boost your self-esteem.

Moreover, you can get immersed in the story and develop empathy with the characters. According to Luke Allen, a psychologist in Oregon and Nevada, this is beneficial for your mental health. “Audiobooks encourage you to process your own emotions while also promoting empathy with others and understanding different viewpoints.”

In addition, you can use audiobooks to lengthen your attention span. By listening to fiction, your brain learns how to focus for longer periods of time, which can be useful for school, work and daily life.

Furthermore, audiobooks can help people with dyslexia. This is because they don’t require you to read written words, but rather follow the narrator. This makes them easier to comprehend and allows you to engage in the story without having to worry about a physical book.

3. Reduces Anxiety

The honking of cars and bustling city noise fade away when you plug in your earbuds and get lost in the story of an engaging novel. In fact, listening to audiobooks reduces stress and anxiety levels, according to one study from 2022. It turns out that engrossing stories require a lot of cognitive and emotional brain processing — they stretch your mind intellectually, spatially, and logically. They also build your comprehension skills by teaching you how to pronounce new words as you hear them spoken, and they can even help improve your reading speed and fluency.

Since the 1800s, scientists have recognized that fear and the amygdala are connected. This is why it’s so important to manage and control your fears.

Author and anxiety coach Julian Brass teaches people all over the world to own their anxiety by using natural tools that redirect this raw, disruptive emotion into positive action. He uses developments in neuroscience to teach you how to rewire your brain to tame the amygdala and free yourself from anxiety, shyness, panic attacks, and more.

4. Boosts Memory

Unlike reading, listening to audiobooks doesn’t involve just the left brain but activates both the hemispheres, which improves cognitive function. The hippocampus and frontal cortex take in lots of information while listening to an audiobook that helps to strengthen memory, which also helps in the development of new ideas and concepts.

In addition, listening to an audiobook engages your emotional circuits in your brain, allowing you to empathize with the characters and the story. This is because hearing a narrator’s voice and hearing the setting descriptions, character voices, and background music heighten the drama of the story and evoke emotion.

Listening to a compelling audiobook can help you forget about the stresses of your day and allow you to fall into a relaxing sleep at night. This is especially helpful for people who have trouble falling asleep due to anxiety or stress.

Those who suffer from PTSD, depression, or other mental disorders can use audiobooks to distract themselves and slow down negative thoughts that can lead to mood swings or irritability. In addition, it’s an excellent way to avoid a lot of time looking at digital screens that are known to disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it difficult to nod off at bedtime.

5. Improves Concentration

A good audiobook can make even the most mundane tasks enjoyable. Listening to a story can improve your concentration and help you stay on task when you’re doing chores or working around the house. It can also distract you from negative thoughts or repetitive thoughts that may be keeping you down.

In a study by the Gallant Lab, researchers found that when participants were listening to an audiobook, their brains responded in the same way as they did when reading a paper book. Additionally, they sped up their response time when braking to hazards. This suggests that audiobooks can be a great distraction while driving, which is particularly useful for people who struggle with multitasking.

For those who aren’t able to hold a book due to conditions such as central nervous tremor, arthritis, or macular degeneration, audio books are a great alternative. They can also boost mental health for the elderly. In fact, one recent study found that being read to has been shown to reduce interpersonal sensitivity, somatic complaints, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, and psychosis in the elderly population.

6. Relaxes the Eyes

The act of reading requires a lot from your brain. You have to keep track of characters, imagine the geography, and understand relationships. The juggling of these different logical and spatial tasks is a workout for your mind, and it can help improve critical thinking skills.

It can be hard to focus on the task at hand when your mind is occupied by negative thoughts and anxious feelings, but audiobooks can help. The narrator’s voice and the story can distract you from your own thoughts, giving your mood a boost.

If you’re someone with a mental health condition that makes it difficult to read, like dyslexia or anxiety, an audiobook can be a lifesaver. It can be heart wrenching when a book gets ripped or wet, but with an audiobook there is no need to worry about that.

Curious about how audiobooks can enhance your reading experience and provide a break from screen-induced eye strain? Explore Audible reviews to discover a wide range of captivating narrations that not only distract from negative thoughts but also offer relief from digital screen exposure, promoting relaxation and better sleep.

The amount of time we spend looking at digital screens can lead to eye strain and long-term vision problems, such as nearsightedness. By listening to an audiobook instead of reading, you can relax your eyes and get a good night’s sleep. It’s also a great way to reduce screen exposure and give your eyes a break from the blue light of electronic devices.

7. Improves Sleep

In addition to improving sleep, audiobooks help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Many people who feel lonely use books and reading as a way to feel connected to others. The narrator and characters in audiobooks act as companions for those who are isolated and lonely, providing comfort and solace through the stories they tell.

The calming voice and soothing narrative of audiobooks make them an excellent choice for bedtime. The sound of a human voice also triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that contributes to relaxation and a sense of well-being. Listening to an audiobook instead of staring at a screen helps improve sleep by shifting attention away from stress-inducing or worrisome thoughts that often keep us awake at night.

Additionally, the lack of a screen limits the exposure to blue light that can disrupt our circadian rhythm and cause eye strain and long-term vision problems. For older people who can no longer read print due to conditions like central nervous tremor or macular degeneration, audiobooks provide a valuable means of keeping up with literature and promoting brain health.

Whether you want to explore a new author, expand your vocabulary or immerse yourself in an amazing plot, audiobooks are a great option for anyone who loves to read. In fact, there’s even evidence that audiobooks are better for mental health than reading on a device like a tablet or smartphone.