Mind-engaging activities keep your brain sharp and numerous studies have discovered they can prevent progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many others. Reading belongs to the group of mind-engaging activities that you should, definitely, do to keep your mind sharp and gain many other benefits as well.
I love reading, not only because it makes me feel relaxed but also because it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about different cultures, times, characters. It’s needless to mention that reading a good book does wonders for your vocabulary at the same time, which is highly important if you write for a living. I like the fact that reading gives you opportunity to live many lives, experience different situations just by holding a book in your hand. Destiny and fate of main characters becomes your own.
That’s why I decided to do a little research and create a list of 10 reasons why you should read more. Let’s start.
1. Reading increases intelligence
Reading a good book opens up a whole world of knowledge starting from a very young age. For example, children who read books are “exposed” to 50% more new words than they’d learn by watching TV. Furthermore, Stanovich K.E. of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education from Toronto, Canada published a paper in Advances in Child Development and Behavior wherein it was stated that reading is associated with increased general knowledge, verbal skills, vocabulary, and judging by this criteria it does have ability to make people smarter.
2. Stress reduction
Group of scientists at the University of Sussex conducted a study commissioned by Galaxy chocolate to launch a campaign to give away one million books. The research showed that reading decreased stress by 68%. The only thing that participants had to do was to read for 6 minutes only. Therefore, if you’re stressed out reading a book is a great way to de-stress.
3. Memory improvement
Study published in the journal Neurology discovered that reading prevents memory loss which is characteristic for older age. The study included 294 people over the age of 55. Participants underwent cognitive tests and they also had to complete questionnaire and state whether they read books or participate in some other mind-engaging activities. Cognitive tests showed that people who engaged in mentally stimulating activities both early and late in life had a slower rate of decline in memory comparing to participants who did not do such activities.
4. Reading makes you more empathetic
According to study published in the Science, reading literary fiction has the power to help readers understand what others are thinking by reading people’s emotions. Understanding mental states of others is important skill that enables complex social relationships characteristic for human societies. Basically, reading books (particularly fiction) makes it easier for you to relate to others.
5. Improved analytical thinking skills
How many times have you read the book that was so interesting and you constantly tried to work out possible solutions in your mind? Have you ever realized who’s the killer in the book even before you reached the ending? This happens because reading makes you “activate”analytical thinking by taking notes of details provided in the book and sorting them out to reach your conclusion. You use this same ability to form your opinion about the book and form your opinions or points of view in general.
6. Focus and concentration
If you find it difficult to focus on your assignment then reading can be a good way to tackle the problem. I always find it difficult to concentrate on my work, noises, people, objects, basically everything prevents me to focusing on my work and finish articles I’m writing. According to experts, reading a book makes you focus on the story only which is a good practice for improving concentration. Try reading 15-20 minutes before you start working or studying for exams and you’ll be surprised how focused you are. I’ve done this and I have to admit it really worked.
7. Improved writing skills
If you’re a writer then improving your writing skills is a must in order to succeed in your career. I constantly write articles, PRs, ebooks, and sometimes feel like I ran out of ideas. Reading is a great way of improving writing skills which go hand in hand with expansion of vocabulary. When reading, you’re also observing sentence structures, paragraphs, organization of the text, new words and expressions. All these aspects have a beneficial effect on your writing as well.
8. Reading helps you sleep better
Regular sleep pattern is highly important for our overall health and well-being. It’s not only important to get 8 hours of sleep, but to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Reading book before bedtime signals your body it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. In fact, reading is more beneficial for your sleep pattern than watching TV in bed.
In addition to stress reduction, subject you read about can bring you peace and tranquility as well. For instance, reading spiritual texts lowers your blood pressure and brings an immense sense of calm. On the other hand, reading self-help books helps people suffering from mood disorders or mild mental illness.
All benefits listed above are just bonus of the most important benefit of reading – entertainment. Without entertainment and feeling interested into the book, reading would seem like a chore. Reading is extremely fun and let’s face it; books are always better than movies so you’re one step ahead at all times.
Do you like to read? What’s your favorite book? Leave your answers in comment section below.
Published by Amra Serdarevic