{DISCUSSION} Stress & Reading


Can stress really impact your reading?


Some of you may have been noticing my tweets or my little notes in the sidebar that I leave every few days or perhaps just noticed from my updates how gosh darn busy I have been as of late. Despite all of that, I still blog. I still have a responsibility to write posts and share them with you. To read and respond to your comments and broaden both your minds and my own. Unfortunately, it is with all of my tasks that I find myself quite stressed. And I imagine everyone reading this has found themselves stressed or overwhelmed at least one point in their life. Yet, we talk not so much about that today. Rather, we discuss how that stress affects your reading.

Particularly, your enjoyment of reading.

When one is stressed, one’s mind has a tendency to wander from whatever task one is doing. Because the mind constantly rotates back to that thing(s) that is causing said stress, which makes it difficult to focus.

More over, because that stress is constantly on your mind, even when you are having fun, it can be difficult to pay attention. Your mind keeps interrupting your fun and enjoyment with little punctuations of ‘Don’t Forget!’ or ‘You should be doing something else.’ When this happens, it can be difficult, if not impossible to simply sit back and enjoy whatever you are doing and, sadly, this bleeds over into reading.

I think this is particularly difficult for myself because I have the attention span of a goldfish. If I’m not completely enraptured, completely enamored, completely pulled into whatever story/movie/etc that I’m doing, my mind will wander. Such is often the case when I read. Yet, this inability to focus becomes 10-fold when I am stressed. No matter how hard I try to focus and want to enjoy the book, there is a certain heaviness and weariness and constant agitation lingering in the back of my mind.

That is what stress does.
It has the ability to kill enjoyment of anything.

Unfortunately, stress doesn’t always just go away when you finish a project or spend time pondering the point of your stress. Don’t get me wrong. Introspection towards said stress and taking the time to understand and tackle that stress is vital, but somethings don’t go away. One stressor may simply replace another. Or the point of the stress will have such a huge impact on one’s life that one thinks about it again and again even after they believe they’ve made a decision.

And I wish that I had some helpful tips for dealing with stress. I wish I knew the answer, but I will admit that I do not. I am, at this point in time, constantly dealing with a very large stressor. Whatever decision I make on it will dictate the rest of my life and my career. It’s this huge weight settling on my shoulders and my mind and no matter how much I listen to music, build puzzles, watch TV shows, read stories, sit and contemplate with as much of an objective point of view as I can, it will not go away. Big decisions like that linger.

I’m not asking for help or well wishes or anything. That’s not what this post is for. This post is to offer readers a chance to ponder whether something externally may be impacting their love of reading. An amazing story read through the eyes of some bone-weary with worry will never be an amazing story. It will be tainted by other thoughts. It’s for this reason that I think re-reading is a good idea (though I still don’t do it. :p Haha!) But enough of my rambles on the subject!

What do you think?
Can stress impact reading?
Leave your thoughts below!

And check out my discussion from last week:
Time Travel

52 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Stress & Reading”

  1. I find that the pace of my reading can cause stress, which in turn probably doesn’t help with my reading pace to begin with! If I gave myself a lofty goal or reading 2-3 books in 1 week and I am taking too long on one, I can throw myself off.

    I am trying to help myself walk away earlier from books I do not enjoy, I just find it hard to not finish what I started.

    Hope you had a happy birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. I had a very relaxing birthday. 🙂

      Ah. I barely make it through one book a week and I agree that it causes some stress because I need to finish it or I won’t have any books to review on my blog for the week. But that’s partly my fault because I’m really bad at starting the book early in the week. :p Oops.

      Yeah, same. I always want to finish too. I DNFed my first book this year and I had some very strong reasons why I decided to do it. Most books do not push me to that, though. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes stress does have an affect on my reading that is why I don’t read articles that are not relevant to me, or very long and complicated ones. You have said that you have a big responsibility to write here, to read the comments and reply. As you say that stress is a very big factor weighing on you, why don’t you slow down?
    Let me put in how I have been told by my doctor. That even when I am studying or even doing the blog I need to enjoy and want to do it. And not take it too seriously and stress. How I write on my blog is, when it all get collected in my head and then I want to drain it off. I know in life we cannot do all things at our times that we like. but other things one has go with the flow of life. Not run against time as this is what causes stress.
    Doing more things stress does not go away -stress needs complete rest and silence for the mind to relax and come back to normal. I hope some of this become helpful. Many Blessings of Love, Light and Healing Energies 🙂 ❤


      1. I am surprised you responded before the end of the year! Haha, jk. I know you are super busy, no worries! ❤

        And that is what is so nice about positive thoughts. You don’t have to ask for them, but they are still there to brighten your day if you need them! Keep on trucking, girl! You got this!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hahahahahaha! I wasn’t originally planning to respond to comments today, but I had to post a very angry rant about Goodreads (and I’m chatting with some new bloggers I found) so I thought it’d be a good idea to catch up. And it wouldn’t have been the end of the year. Just like… maybe Christmas time. Hahahaha!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Stress for sure impacts reading– and other hobbies too! I’m currently a student in high school, and during the summer I can clear nearly a book a day, but during the school year, I lack the time to read maybe a book every two or three months. I hope that maybe my senior year I can amend this habit, but for now things are busy! I hope you had a wonderful birthday and Thanksgiving!

    claire @ clairefy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Claire! Thank you for commenting! 😀 Sorry I’m late in replying (end of semester is getting close so I tend to be slower on replies.)

      YOU CAN READ A BOOK A DAY?!?!?!! What is this sorcery and how might I obtain it?! hee hee! I read super slow so even if I do nothing else all day, I’ll still only get through 100 pages (hence why I think reading is stressful for me in itself.)

      I can totally understand that. I’ve been trying to keep up with 1 book/week in grad school, but somedays I just don’t have the time because I have to read papers or study for exams or prepare an experiment. I’m hoping it’ll be less crazy once I’m done with classes, but that’s still a little ways away. :p

      And thank you! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as well! 😀


    1. Thank you, Rae! 😀 (Sorry for the late response. End of semester is awful!)

      Huh. Well… I’m jealous. Hahahaa! I wish I could relax while reading, but I think reading is a bit stressful for me in general because of my review schedule. I have to make time to read and that means scheduling my reading time and schedules are both stressful and helpful. :p

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see what you mean but I think (and no offense) that you add that pressure on yourself by making a review schedule. If it’s causing you that much stress just post a review when you have time (and if you feel like it) It’s not like your blog isn’t already active enough with your discussions so why add the extra stress/work/pressure etc?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hahahahaha! No offense taken and I know. 🙂 I am fully aware that I put pressure on myself, but I made a schedule because it’s the only thing that ensures I keep reading. If I didn’t have my schedule, I’d probably stop reading just as I did in undergrad. I really don’t want to go another 5 years without reading. :p

          Though, I have skipped 2 book reviews this semester because I just didn’t have time and I’m okay with that. If it really becomes an issue, I’ll make adjustments. I also don’t want my entire life to just become science. I need hobbies.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Hahahahaha! I’m always stressed, Rae. That’s just like… my permanent state. It’s an unfortunate side effect of a mind that never knows when to shut up! I swear, even when someone hits the ‘off’ switch, it’s like it has an auto restart code that completely negates it. :p (Makes sleeping kind of hard. hahahaha!)

              School is always in the way. RAWR! :p But I will always make time for blogging. I need this creative side or else I’ll go insane. I can’t do science 24/7 like some people. I’m too eclectic for that. :p

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy birthday, Melanie!! I’m a bit late but I suppose it still counts 🙂

    Stress definitely impacts what I read… I tend to go for YA a lot more when I’m stressed, and particularly more romantic stories, or fluffy. But yes, reading is far better and more immersive if you’re relaxed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Naty! 😀 (It’s okay. I’m way late in responding to you. Oops!)

      Interesting. I can totally understand the need to have a fluffy, easy story to read when stressed. THough, to be honest, I think I might be the opposite. If I’m stressed, I need something that fully pulls me in, as in my entire brain, and fluffy stories don’t do that. I would probably need a hard scifi or mystery or something that makes my brain work, you know? :p (No wonder I’m stressed. Hahahahaa!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Makes sense! I think it’s so nice that you can fully immerse in stories like those! When I’m stressed my brain will be still somewhere else, so I get frustrated reading something too “hard” like sci-fi or fantasy or so, and need to read something I can skip a few words or so and still follow the story, because for sure I’ll be thinking of whatever’s stressing me still…
        But your approach is very interesting, I might try it one time!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah! I can totally understand that. I think everyone’s brain works a little differently and mine is the type that just NEVER SHUTS OFF. I can barely sit down and watch a TV show nowadays without needing to do something extra. (Unless it’s a hard scifi or a mystery.) It has to use all of my brain or I don’t keep interest. :/ Kind of annoying, really. I’ll never be able to get into contemporary now. :p

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy birthday!!
    Oooo yes stress can be the ultimate killjoy. And like most people I have no real solution for it (UGH. WHY.). I’m one of those people who loves checklists if only for the joy of checking things off of it (LOL) so the more stressed I get the more things I write down on my to-do list and therefore the more things (usually) I get to check OFF said to-do list which makes me feel a bit better haha I guess physically seeing what I have to do and tracking my progress just gives me this (false) sense of control and calms me down. A CHECKLIST MEANS I HAVE A PLAN AND A PLAN MEANS I’M GOING TO BE OKAY. (Yeah, okay Angela, keep telling yourself that eye roll lol) Idk…I’m weird HA But yeah I totally get it, if I’m stressed about something not even my favorite book can distract me with its story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Angela! (Sorry it took so long to get back to you. End of semester craziness! :p )

      Oh, same! I love checklists, too, but my biggest problem is that I end up putting them all over the place. Sticky notes, my phone, my arm, and then they’re never compiled and I never know what I was supposed to do. It’s frustrating, but there is something very satisfying about checking something off one’s to-do list. 😀

      Saaame! Sometimes I can’t even get myself to pick up a book because I’m so stressed. I just end up staring into the void and contemplating all the things I need to do. :p

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh geez, I know exactly how this feels. It’s tough. I have found that the sun helps calm me down. Something about its warmth. Being indoors stresses me out as well, so I’m often outside. I have a nice tan now though, lol. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And Happy Thanksgiving!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahahaha! I’m not particularly big on sunshine myself and I prefer to be inside. :p is mega super pale Hahaha! But that’s good that you’ve figured out what helps you to de-stress. That’s very important. 🙂 I’m still working on it myself, but that’s okay. I at least recognize that I’m stressed so now I just gotta do some stuff about it. :p

      And thank you! 😀 I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to be super pale as well, oh geez. I was like a vampire, haha. Hope you can figure it out! I remember reading something awhile back about warm baths and wrapping yourself in blankets help. Probably why I enjoy the sun as well. Anyways, it triggers something in our brain, giving us that comfort feeling, like we did in our mothers womb. Makes sense if you really think about it. As odd as it sounds.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh. That makes sense. Being warm and surrounded would be like a mother’s womb, which isn’t odd at all. It’s just a natural biological response. 🙂 And I personally like to be in small dark spaces. :p
          My nickname at work used to be ‘ghost’ or, when I worked third shift, I also got ‘vampire.’ :p It’s all in fun and I don’t see the point trying to tan if my body refuses. I’m happy with my paleness. Hee hee!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Glad you’re happy with it! I know in some countries they specifically want that kind of look. They even make some creams for it.


  7. First thing first: HAPPY BIRTHDAY Melanie!
    Stress does NOT impact my reading. When I read I forget everything truly! I read to evade stress so I may be the odd one here but that’s the honest truth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sophie! 😀

      Wow. That’s… amazing. I’m honestly in awe of your mad skills, Sophie. I wish I could just forget everything while reading (although. I’d probably forget to go to bed and clean and all that other stuff I said I’d get done during the day. :p ) But that’s still really awesome. To be able to just read and not think about anything else must be truly amazing. 🙂

      I evade stress by… I’m just kidding. I don’t evade stress. Hahahahaha!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! I know the feeling, Craig. That was definitely what I did this past weekend and then got back to school on Monday and was like: “We had reading to do? Our project is due next week? I have 2.5 weeks left before my final exam?! AHHHHHH!” So, while that little break was fun, I think I have more stress now because I took that break. HAhahaha! Such is life. Just 2.5 more weeks of classes. I will do this! :p

      And thank you for the well wishes. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy Birthday Melanie! And Happy Thanksgiving!! Hope you have an amazing day! 🙂
    Stress totally impacts reading. Also reading can be stressful. I discovered it this year. Too many challenges, or readathons. And suddenly no mood for reading at all. I think I got that under control though.
    The other stress I can balance out. For me reading is a way of enjoyment and relaxation. And also some kind of treat. Other things always need to be done first, otherwise I won’t be able to concetrate. So I always do my stuff and THEN I read to relax. Sometimes I only have a few minutes of reading, but that’s ok, because I know, that I did everything that I had to do.
    I can imagine, that it’s not possible when you have a lot on your plate, but for me reading is enjoyment and a way to beat the stress, so it comes last on my list and then i am a happy person! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Alex! 🙂 I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as well.

      That sounds like a really organized way to do it, Alex. 🙂 I think it makes sense to treat reading as a kind of reward for getting everything done (unfortunately for me, I’d never read then. HAHAAHA!) But I have been trying to make time to read at night before going to bed as a means to curb my insomnia. We’ll see how it goes. :p

      And I was definitely that person where reading actually became stressful because I signed up for too many challenges or too many ARCs. It’s one of the reasons that I didn’t sign up for anything this year. :p Okay. I got a couple ARCs, but no challenges. I don’t read enough or fast enough to really participate in any of those anymore. sigh Maybe next year? :p

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ohhhh, i so hope that it will help with your insomnia! i guess that’s a sign for too much stress. you need to cut down and relax more!! don’t overwork yourself!!

        yes, i totally get that. it was the same for me. all those challenges stressed me out sooo much. i stopped thinking about them and just started to read what i want to read. it’s the best way. otherwise the big reading slump will come!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Bahahahahaha! I’m a stress-a-holic and have had insomnia since I was in high school. It’s just part of my life now. :p And trust me. I’ve tried LOTS of things to make it go away (except meds. I refuse meds.)

          Hahaha! I was the same way again! I got half way through the year of my reading challenges and was just like: “Nope. I quit. I got too many other books to read to stick to these.” :p It’s so much easier to just read what you want. Though sometimes I can’t decide what I want to read. HAHAHAHAHA!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. but how do you work? i mean, if i don’t get my hours of sleep, you can throw me in a trash can 😀

            haha, i know the problem. sometimes i don’t know eiter. then i pick something up and if it doesn’t draw me in right from the moment, i pick another one 😀

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hahahaha! I work because I end up going to bed 30-60minutes early every night just to compensate for insomnia. :p I’m not nearly as efficient as I should be, but such is life.

              I used to do that a lot, but now that I review books each week I can’t afford to stop half-way through and find something else. So I generally just push through. Oh well. :p Nothing has been TOO bad so far. Hee hee!

              Liked by 1 person

  9. ABSOLUTELY stress impacts reading! There are times where reading can be a helpful distraction and pull your mind away from the things that are bothering you. But when things are bad there’s no way I can focus on reading!
    Sorry you’ve had so much on your plate lately! I hope you get a bit of a mental break during the Christmas holidays. And happy thanksgiving to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahahaha! I don’t really get a Christmas holiday. I only get like… two days off or something and then I have to be back in lab. Grad school is worse than working a real job. :p But that’s okay. I volunteered for this. 🙂

      And I completely agree. If your stress is too great, it makes it impossible to focus. Which is such a shame. I hate when the books I read are tainted by other non-related things. sigh

      Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as well! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was hoping you were going to say that they closed the lab for Christmas so you could gave a break. I’m starting to think that a bunch of sadists run that place 😂 enjoy your 2 whole days off!
        Btw – I finished the second book in the Zodiac series. The first half was just meh, the second half gave me so many emotions so quickly I couldn’t handle it! Not quite as good as Book 1 but wow! Still amazing! I hope you get it for Christmas or you end your book buying ban soon!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Bahahahahaha! That’s research for you. If I want to graduate in 5 years, I gotta sell my soul for it… :p (I’m internally crying while laughing out loud. Hahaha!) But yes. I do wish I had more time off, but I’m hoping that the more time I spend in lab, the faster I’ll get my PhD and get to graduate and get a real job. Wishful thinking? :p

          HEY!!! NO SAY THINGS ABOUT BOOK 2! I NO READ YET! RAWR!!!! :p Bahahahahaha. Ending my book buying ban is so not going to happen. I still have like… 50 books on my shelf to read (which is awful because BookOutlet was having a 30% off everything sale and books were going for like $0.50-$3. AHH! THE TORTURE!) :p

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Hahahaha! I am safe. :p

              But yes. Grad school (in science) is a bit insane they expect a LOT from students. We’re just glorified servants in the lab, to be honest. I am aiming for 4.5 years, but I’ll have to bust my butt to do it. We’ll see how long I make it. :p

              Liked by 1 person

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