When was the last time you read a book, or a substantial magazine article? Do your daily reading habits center around tweets, Facebook updates, or the directions on your instant oatmeal packet?
If you’re one of countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out. Reading is good for more than just entertainment. Committing part of everyday to reading printed books can make you a smarter, kinder, more relaxed individual. And the positive effects can be felt at any age. Even before they’ve fully developed their reading skills, kids can benefit from having access to printed materials and being read to on a regular basis.
Exposing kids to books, magazines, and more at an early age. This is a great way to encourage them to be lifelong readers, which means they’ll reap these benefits for years to come. Reading has a significant number of benefits, and here’re 8 benefits of reading to get you to start reading.
1. Mental Stimulation
Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and Dementia, since keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power.
Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy. So the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind. Doing puzzles and playing games such as chess have also been found to be helpful with cognitive stimulation.
2. Stress Reduction
No matter how much stress you have at work, in your personal relationships. It all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story. A well-written novel can transport you to other realms. At the same time, an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.
Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.
Additionally, here’s a bit of food for thought: should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances. Remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health. Knowledge can never be taken from you.
4. Vocabulary Expansion
This goes with the above topic:
The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary.
Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession. Knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem. It could even aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events.
Reading books is also vital for learning new languages, as non-native speakers gain exposure to words used in context, which will ameliorate their own speaking and writing fluency.
In 2009, a group of researchers measured the effects of yoga, humor, and reading on the stress levels of students in demanding health science programs in the United States.
The study found that 30 minutes of reading lowered blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress just as effectively as yoga and humor did.
The authors concluded, “Since time constraints are one of the most frequently cited reasons for high stress levels reported by health science students, 30 minutes of one of these techniques can be easily incorporated into their schedule without diverting a large amount of time from their studies.”
6. It is important to read books to improve your memory
When you read a book, you have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, history, and nuances, as well as the various arcs and sub-plots that weave their way through every story. That’s a fair bit to remember, but brains are marvelous things and can remember these things with relative ease.
Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods. How cool is that?
7. Learn how to approach new obstacles
As characters learn how to approach and overcome obstacles, they share that experience with us. So, when we face similar challenges in our lives we know how rise above these challenges already.
Taking a new and more effective approach to the obstacles found in our everyday lives is powerful. Inspired by the famous work of Paulo Coelho’s, The Alchemist, many people changed the way they perceive obstacles and the journey of life.
A more notable quote from the book,
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
8. Gives you inner peace
Reading can give you a sense of calm in just minutes. A 2009 study by the University of Sussex showed that reading for six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. The best part is that literary fiction concentrates less on developing a plot, letting your mind wander and relax.
Regular readers also sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.
“…by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book. You can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination.” Cognitive neuropsychologist David Lewis told The Telegraph.
Even though reading has many benefits, it does come down to whether the individual reader takes advantage of them.
In Suzanne Keen’s 2007 book, Empathy and the Novel. She notes, “Books can’t make change by themselves—and not everyone feels certain that they ought to. ” She continues to write, “As any bookworm knows, readers can also seem antisocial and indolent.”
If you’re ready to bring the remarkable effects of reading literary fiction into your life, then you need to begin reading now because the hardest part is starting.
So, at first, focus on completing just one book. Then, you’ll notice the incredible benefits of reading books that will result in the momentum to eventually becoming an avid reader.