Benefits of reading books- why should you read every day

Personal Development blog

Today I wanted to look closely at the benefits of reading books and why we should read every day.

My parents love to read so I grew up in a house full of books. Since I remember, the books were always around the house and reading was encouraged from my early childhood. I still remember how excited I was when I got my first night lamp clamped to my bunk bed and was allowed to read longer in the evening. Many times I ended up reading long late evening hours just to finish an exciting book 🙂

Now it is my turn and I’m introducing my kids to the world of reading. Any occasions I have, I try to sneak a book for them, every birthday or Christmas present will include it. My daughter started to enjoy it now, my son is still in the stage of learning how to read but he is very excited at the thought he soon will be able to read any book. I cannot wait to see them love reading books like me! I hope they will catch my reading bug 🙂

So is the reading really that good for you?

According to neuroscience- it is! Reading is more neurobiologically demanding than speech or processing images.

Quoting after Oprah magazine

 “Parts of the brain that have evolved for other functions—such as vision, language, and associative learning—connect in a specific neural circuit for reading, which is very challenging,” says Ken Pugh, PhD, president and director of research of Haskins Laboratories, which is devoted to the science of language and affiliated with Yale. “A sentence is shorthand for a lot of information that must be inferred by the brain.” In general, your intelligence is called to action, as is greater concentration. “We are forced to construct, to produce narrative, to imagine,” says Maryanne Wolf, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University and author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. “Typically, when you read, you have more time to think. Reading gives you a unique pause button for comprehension and insight. By and large, with oral language—when you watch a film or listen to a tape—you don’t press pause.”

There so many benefits of reading but I will focus of just few here.

1. Reading keeps your brain young, improves analytical thinking and gives you mental stimulation

Researchers have shown that people who spend their free time reading had a slower rate of cognitive decline later in life then those who didn’t do any creative or intellectual activities.

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Reader’s Digest magazine published article about benefits of reading quoting Robert S. Wilson, PhD, professor of neuropsychology at Rush University Medical Center, saying “Brainy pursuits make the brain more efficient by changing its structure to continue functioning properly in spite of age-related neuropathologies”. In another study it was found that older people who read and play mentally challenging games are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia.

Brain need stimulation, requires exercise to keep it strong and active. Use it or lose it!

2. Reading expands your vocabulary

download (2)This is definitely a thing everybody notices about people who love reading.

Their vocabulary is much richer than average person’s, they are very articulate and well- spoken. The more you read, the more exposure to new words you get and more words become part of your everyday vocabulary. Your spelling improves as well!

Encourage your kids to read more! Be a good example for them!

3. Reading reduces stress

Reading basically melts away your stress!

download (4)Firstly, reading actually makes you to sit down and keep still and then it shifts your mind away from your daily worries. You become a part of a different world. For a moment you are absorbed by something else, your focus is away from your stress. By losing yourself in a book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and explore your imagination.

In 2009 the University of Sussex conducted research which showed that reading was the most effective way to overcome stress. It was more effective then listening to music, enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and even taking a relaxing walk. The heart rate and muscle tension was measured to establish the point when the study participants started to relax. It only took them six minutes to relax once they started reading!

4. Reading helps to motivate you and prioritize your goals.

Reading can open your eyes to something new. As you feed your mind with fresh information from the books you read, your mind wakes up. You become more imaginative and see things you could not see before, see yourself doing more. You realize that you have a potential which you need to utilize. Reading about successful people can for example boost your own motivation to do better in life. Reading about someone who overcame obstacles may motivate you to meet your own goals. It also shows you things you didn’t know about yourself. This can help you to realize what you really want in in life.

5. Self-help books can ease depression

download (1)In 2013 a study was published which showed that reading self- help books, combined with support sessions on how to use them, was linked with lower levels of depression after a year compared to patients who received typical treatments. “Depression saps people’s motivation and makes it hard to believe change is possible.”- said the study author Christopher Williams of the University of Glasgow. Another study also suggested that people with severe depression can benefit from low-intensity interventions, including self-help books and interactive websites, as much or more than those who are less severely depressed.

 

So what are you waiting for?! Reach for a next book and enjoy all the benefits!

 

Let me know what do you think. Please leave a comment below and join our discussion. What is your experience about reading? Any other benefits not mentioned above?

 

Thanks for visiting my blog!

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29 thoughts on “Benefits of reading books- why should you read every day

  1. Hi.
    I also read a lot. Around one or two books a day. But, too bad that there is many young people in my country seems to discourage to read more.
    That’s lead me to a project trying to encourage people in Viet Nam read more. It really fun too see someone that love to read as I do.Thanks for your great post.

  2. I absolutely love reading. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I will be showing a couple of my friends that perhaps make excuses not to read or are inconsistent with reading. That just reminds me, I need to send it to my partner. He’s struggling to get into reading again. I know how it can help your day so much. I love opening and closing my day with a good personal development book.

    I love this quote….”People often say that motivation doesn’t last, well neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it everyday” Reading helps motivation and inspiration.

    Thanks again Eleh.

  3. Nice post, Elektra! My son is learning to read too and I’m trying to get interested in reading but is difficult. He likes to read but like one small book in a year, hahaha. any ideas how to get him more interested?

    1. Hi Jenny, thanks for your comment! Every child is different, maybe he needs more time to really start liking it or the choice of books is not that interesting to him. For example my son is obsessed with Star Wars so I bought him very easy level (early reading stage) Star Wars book which he can read and then got higher level. I think it is also really important to give a good example by reading yourself. I think it worked with my daughter. She loves to sit next to me when I read my book and she can read her book near me. She calls it our reading sessions 🙂

  4. Hey there!!! Your post is very informative. I also try to read to my kids every chance I get. They enjoy it for certain!! I also grew up liking to read, and my Mom also reads quite a bit in her spare time. It’s nice to sit down with a good book and escape into another land sometimes. Thanks for all the great information and an even better story!!

    1. Thanks for your comment Shannon! It’s true, every time you read a book you can escape to different world 🙂 “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

  5. Hi Elektra, Great post. Like you I enjoy reading to my kids, and they love it too you can get si much from a good book and it’s great to see encouraging sites like yours good luck
    Jason

  6. Hi Elektra! This is been really interesting to read. I like the different points you’ve listed about why reading is important. I never used to like reading when I was younger but now that I’ve gotten older I now realise the benefits of reading more often. I expecially like the point about how reading expands your vocabulary, now that I’ve been reading more I have definitely noticed this which I really like :).

  7. Hi there,

    I love to read and used to spend more time reading in the past. Even though I don’t have much time for fiction novels (my favourite) anymore, I still read but mostly it’s recipe books and online materials. I think reading is great and I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to read more. It expands your vocabulary, widen your knowledge, see another person’s point of view and so much more.

  8. All I know is that I am a bookworm and I come from a family of bookworms… I hope my children will be bookworms too. It appears they will be as they love their bedtime stories every night. They are only 2 and 4 years old now, so not exactly reading themselves… but I have a suspicion they will love reading.

    There is nothing better than a good book in my eyes. It beats TV for sure, it takes me away to a place of imagination that TV never can reach.

    I never knew that books could ease depression but yes, for sure it makes sense to me.

  9. You got an interesting post about the benefits of reading books. I used to read bedtime stories to my daughter when she was still a baby. From then on, she has developed the love for reading books. She is currently reading chapter books eg. Disney Collections and Roald Dahl children’s books. She is only 6 yrs.old but has the reading ability of an 8-9-year-old girl. She also loves to write short stories. In fact, two of her short stories were accepted for publication in a children’s writing competition. I believe that my daughter has developed the love for writing because of her love for reading. Do you agree? All the best!

    1. Wow, such an achievement! You must be so proud of your little girl! I’m pretty sure her reading skills helped her writing too! It is amazing to see how much everybody (especially kids) can get from reading! All the best to you and your daughter!

  10. I have a friend who suffers from depression and anything that would help her ease the depression, I am sure she would do it. She already loves reading though, and this may be the case that she can control the depression a bit better. Books can take you to another world and you can escape the stress and problems of the everyday world. You can see how reading could benefit a large number of people!

    1. Reading books definitely reduces stress and can improve generally your well-being. In case of depression, one needs different aids too but good book will be always a help.

  11. I never thought that books could be a stress releiver. My wife loves to read books, and will usually read them late into the night. It’s good that you can find different escapes in life to just relax you.

  12. You stated that researchers have shown that people who spend their free time reading had a slower rate of cognitive decline later in life than those who didn’t do any creative or intellectual activities. My children have been asking me all summer what kinds of things they should do and I have thought about maybe going to a bookstore and getting them some books. Are there places where you can buy used books? Maybe this could be a good summer activity for them.

    1. It definitely is the best things kids could do and benefit for future! Why don’t you use library? I take my kids to library quite often so they can choose what they want to read and feel empowered by their choices too 🙂 I’m sure you can find a places with second hand books too, just check around.

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