Do you experience anxiety while reading?

This post answers questions about: Can you experience anxiety while reading? What could be the main reasons for experiencing anxiety while reading? What are the 5 ways individuals can calm themselves down while reading? What is Anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety caused by reading? What are some ways to manage anxiety caused by reading? What are the therapy options for anxiety caused by anxiety? what are the triggers of anxiety caused by reading? 

Can you experience anxiety while reading?

Many individuals might experience a sense of stress or anxiousness while reading. In such cases, people find it very challenging to read a book or even hold a book.

Many researchers have given this reading-related stress the name of Bibliophobia. Bibliophobia is defined as the unusual fear of books and reading.

Individuals suffering from the fear of books might fear reading books or reading them out loud in public spaces.

The other reasons for individuals to experience anxiety while reading a book might be decreased confidence or self-esteem that is routing from their disabilities or challenges associated with reading.

Many children who have had bad experiences with reading or were forced to be proficient readers without the required skills might associate books with negative feelings and emotions that might trigger their anxiety around books and reading.

Embarrassment or humiliation that people might have faced due to their reading skills also hold on to them for very long and become the major cause for their anxieties when they carry out the act of reading in the future.

The anxiety of reading might be life-limiting for those experiencing it causing a problem in various domains of an individual life.

What could be the main reasons for experiencing anxiety while reading?

Some reasons for experiencing anxiety while reading could be:

  • Fear of books is known as Bibliophobia
  • Reading disabilities
  • Life limiting health conditions
  • Negative experiences in the past
  • Extreme pressure of high reading proficiency
  • Humiliation or embarrassment encountered due to reading in the past
  • Low self-esteem and self-confidence
  • The fear of being judged based on ones reading skills  

What are the 5 ways individuals can calm themselves down while reading?

Some ways that people can be calmer while reading is:

Choose reading articles of your interest

People who experience anxiety while reading can start by reading articles or pieces that are of interest particularly. Such as some individuals feel a sense of comfort when they read about recipes while others feel connected when they read travel blogs.

Give a try at graphic books

In some cases, reading articles or pieces that involve imagery might be less anxiety-provoking than those which are filled with words. Informative and attractive visuals might also help to form positive associations between reading and mood over time.

Books that have a lot of images and graphics help to cover up individuals’ anxiety that is caused by their insecurities routing from their inability to read properly.

Using audiobooks effectively

Individuals who experience anxiety while reading books can take the advantage of advancing technology and use audiobooks where much of the reading work is done by the AI.

Using the library

The library is such a place that helps individuals to be to themselves and spend time reading and surfing through books and articles without any humiliation or judgment from anyone else.

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety caused by reading? 

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:


  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

What are the main triggers of anxiety caused by reading?

Even though anxiety is seen among many individuals, certain triggers make some people more vulnerable to anxiety than others. Some contributing triggers of anxiety are:

Health diagnosis

An individual is more vulnerable to experiencing anxiety in the presence of chronic or serious health diagnoses such as cancer or diabetes.

Triggers associated with health diagnosis tend to have a strong impact on an individual because of the strong negative thoughts and emotions that are associated with it.


It is believed that many over-the-counter medications may contribute to the symptoms of anxiety in some individuals. This is certainly because of the ingredients in this medication that makes an individual feel uneasy.

Use of caffeine

Even though it is said that the use of caffeine helps to activate an individual’s system, studies show that over usage of caffeine might lead to adverse effects such as anxiety or even depression.

Apart from the overuse withdrawal from caffeine may also lead to anxiety. hence it is suggested that individuals take conscious amounts of caffeine per day.

Skipping meals

Apart from environmental factors ones eating habits might also contribute to an individual’s anxiety directly or indirectly. When an individual fails to maintain their food timings it might lead to fluctuations in their blood sugar levels.

These fluctuations might make an individual feel jittery which in turn triggers anxiety.

Hence maintaining a proper schedule and diet is important for various reasons not just for energy but also for maintaining one’s mood.

Negative thinking

An individual’s behavior and emotions are certainly controlled by one’s thoughts. When an individual is upset and dwells on negative thoughts it further leads to discomforting emotions and detrimental thoughts causing a vicious cycle.

These negative thoughts are then projected to various areas of an individual’s life creating an overall sense of lack of control over oneself and the environment which triggers anxiety.

Financial concerns

Many individuals experience anxiety due to their financial standing. Learning to manage financial triggers requires seeking professional help such as from a financial advisor.


Daily stressors as simple as traffic jams to major ones such as strained relationships might contribute to one’s intensity and frequency of anxiety and anxiety attacks.

However long term or chronic stress leads to long term anxiety and a build-up of negative taught processes and emotions that impact an individual’s mental health



individuals might also experience anxiety as a result of interpersonal or intrapersonal conflicts.

The inability to resolve these conflicts might lead to the buildup of negative thoughts, emotions that overwhelm an individual and trigger anxiety.

Personal triggers

Personal triggers can be as minor as a smell, place, or even a song that reminds an individual of negative and discomforting experiences. Personal triggers can remind an individual of an unconscious or conscious dramatic event in an individual’s life that triggers their anxiety.

If you can identify and understand your triggers, you can work to avoid them and learn to cope with them. You can learn specific coping strategies to handle the triggers when they happen.

What are some ways to manage anxiety caused by reading?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques


Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.



A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety caused by reading?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Anxiety can be triggered by simple entities such as books. Negative experiences in the past might have long-lasting effects on an individual that might trigger negative emotions throughout their lifetime.

Reading is an activity that cannot be completely neglected or avoided in an individual’s day-to-day life. Experiencing anxiety due to reading might be a serious concern for many individuals.

It might be the cause for their stunted growth and lack of sufficient opportunities. individuals must actively seek help to resolve their discomfort and stress related to reading to live and maintain a quality life.

Frequently asked questions 

Can anxiety make reading difficult?

Anxiety can be a major cause of people’s inability to read proficiently. It makes it difficult for people to concentrate on their task of reading which might sometimes set off the mood for the same. 

How do I stop reading anxiety?        

Some ways to manage reading anxiety are:

  • Actively replace negative thoughts associated with reading with more positive ones.
  • Begin reading materials of your own interest
  • Use audiobooks to make reading more acceptable over time 
  • Spend some time reading in the library. 

Why can’t I read properly?

Many individuals experience difficulty reading due to unknown factors. One of the major factors could also be Dyslexia. 



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