When I was much younger, in elementary school and early middle school, I absolutely hated to read. There was nothing that anyone could do to convince me to read a book. The only exceptions to this was in the third grade I read "The Big Friendly Giant" and "The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe." Other than those books, I refused. Until I ran into the Harry Potter series in the eighth grade, I do not know how I avoided it for so long, but once I found it and opened to the first page my life changed. I love reading now, mostly fiction books though. There is a reason to that, that I do not think that many people realize. Reading is therapy. Now a lot of people read just because they like reading, or they want to learn more about the world, but for me and a lot of other people it helps them mentally.
While reading, especially a fiction novel or story, you have to place yourself into the world that the author is creating for you with their words. This is the only way that you will truly understand and be able to empathize with the characters and what they are going through. The only way to put yourself into this other world is to remove yourself from the one that reality holds you in on a daily basis. This is extremely therapeutic because you are not dealing with the real world and all of the little or big issues that come along with that. Whether it was that you had a horrible day at work, or you recently lost a loved one, jumping into a different and created world helps you to forget about everything for a chapter or two.
The main people read any sort of literature is to learn about something new. Schools have text books, researchers use them to read other's research, etc. Even fiction novels can teach you about dealing with certain situations in life. For example, how to deal with a break up, how to get away with framing your husband for your murder, anything really. It also helps to learn how multiple people deal with things because each author is writing their interpretations of how they personally would handle things through the characters, this is free advice from a bunch of different people without having to actually talk to anyone.
3. Be alone
Reading is a solo activity, and for many being alone is what they need when they are stressed, anxious, or feeling depressed. When reading no one will bother you, so you are guaranteed the alone time that you crave to feel better.
4. Pass time
Some days you just do not have anything going on and you need to pass the time, reading is perfect for that. Reading takes you into this alternate universe where you can get lost for hours on end and never realize that the time in the real world kept going. You sit down to read at 5 in the evening and the next thing you know its 3 in the morning.
Everyone has days that are just too stressful to handle sometimes. Reading can help to decompress from the day and help you to relax. Slip into a nice bubble bath with a good book and forget about the extra work that your boss just gave to you and just worry about how Harry is going to get all of the horcruxes in time to defeat Voldemort before Hogwarts is completely destroyed.