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.
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
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!
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
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!