How Can Audiobooks Benefit Your Mental Health?

Books are often the perfect way to help unwind after a long day, to escape into another world away from the distractions of reality. Anyone who loves literature will confirm the benefits of reading on their mental health and well-being. But what about audiobooks?

I used to think that audiobooks were ‘cheating’ and it was the lazy person’s alternative to a book. However, when I was launched into the world of new parenthood and had a serious lack of time and energy to pick up a book, I sought solace in some earphones and an Audible subscription. I soon noticed the positive impact audiobooks had on my well-being and I’m now a true convert.

In a bid to spread the word on how impactful audiobooks can be, I’ve broken down five ways they can put a spring in your step and a smile on your face:

1. Positive distraction

We all have days that get us down, lower our self-esteem, and trigger negative thoughts. For me, often those days would blend together in the early newborn days. I was tired and feeling like a failure at being a mother, wife, daughter, and general functioning human being.

With a newborn to tend to regularly overnight, my sleeping pattern was all over the place. On the nights when I was wide awake at midnight, an audiobook distracted me from dwelling on the stress of being a new parent. The soothing voice also made me feel less alone, as if the narrator was in the room with me.

The focus that is required by the brain to listen to audiobooks helps break patterns of negative thinking and resets our mindset by focusing on a soothing, calm voice that distracts you from the troubles of real life.

2. Nostalgic comfort 

For many of us, our first experiences with books and story-telling are being read to as a child tucked up nice and cozy in bed. My earliest memories are of reading Roald Dahl and Harry Potter next to a nightlight in bed. These memories spark happy thoughts and feelings of nostalgia.

As a teacher and parent, I often experience first-hand the enchantment and power of storytelling in connecting with each other and lifting our mood. I recently learned about the psychology of how the experience of listening to stories can make us feel.

Audiobooks enable us to relive these comforting experiences by immersing us in a child-like environment that feels safe and nurturing

3. Reduces overstimulation 

Phone. Laptop. Television. You could possibly spend most of your day staring at a screen. At the end of a long day, I often want some time to myself, my eyes are begging for a break but I want to escape the world and get lost in a page-turner. This is where I find audiobooks are an ideal solution. 

Your brain is stimulated in the same way as if you are visually reading a book but you can avoid the strain and fatigue burdened on your eyes with an audiobook. This reduction of sensory overload also means you feel less stressed and calmer.

4. Improves sleep

Is it any wonder that we often struggle to sleep at night when we consider all the stress and worries that modern living brings? Add in the blue light from excessive screen use, which disturbs our circadian rhythm, and it becomes clear why so many of us find it hard to switch off at night.

Audiobooks not only offer a screen-free way to access literature but also provide a calming experience to ease you into a soothing and restful sleep. Sometimes I have to be careful which audiobook I listen to – if the narrator has a particularly soothing voice I may well fall asleep!

5. Boosts motivation

Have you ever started a boring chore like cleaning or exercising and felt like the minutes dragged by? Audiobooks can give a focus for your brain when it’s in need of stimulation and when you’re finding tedious jobs boring.

When I became a parent and found there was less time for household tasks, audiobooks meant I could combine this time with some self-care and I didn’t dread my list of chores as much. Knowing you get some time to yourself to shut off the world and lose yourself in an entertaining audiobook might be the motivation you need to pick up those dumbbells and switch on that vacuum cleaner.

Maybe you are a loyal fan of audiobooks and have been reading this and nodding in agreement the entire time. However, if you were undecided about whether to dip into the wonders of the audiobook world, I implore you to give them a go. Even if you aren’t a new parent, I think any person of any age and walk of life can seek joy in audiobooks. I guarantee you will soon start noticing the positive impact they have on your mental health. 

Has listening to audiobooks helped your mental health? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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