Sitting down with a good book can help ease your stress — but 81 percent of Americans don’t read as much as they’d like to, according to a national report from The Harris Poll. The most common excuse is “not having enough time.” 

But you don’t actually need to read for hours on end to reap the benefits. In the same survey, 69 percent of Americans report feeling more accomplished after reading — and 55 percent report needing only 15 minutes to feel that way.

So even if you don’t have hours of free time in your day, it’s worth taking a few minutes to flip through a book. Consider starting with even five minutes a day, and slowly working up to 15. After all, research shows that reading increases longevity, boosts happiness, and strengthens empathy.

And the book you choose to read doesn’t need to be something you feel like you “should” read. In fact, you should make a point of reading something unrelated to your work, especially at night — it will help you disconnect from your day and feel restored.

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