For many people, and for students, in particular, the last thing they often want to do is take a book and start reading after a long day of classes or a busy working day.
Today, we even can see life-long devoted readers turn on Netflix and start binge-watching some series rather than start reading a book. This article is about the benefits, both mentally and physically, of reading.
Although, at times, it may be pretty hard to find the motivation and the time to read a book for leisure outside of work or school classes, reading really makes a difference in physical and mental health.
In earlier days, reading a book was considered a form of great entertainment but today, it seems like most people are already happy when they can scroll through their iPhones to reading the garbage and gossip from some online newspaper or magazine, or perhaps just their friends’ news feed.
So, let’s take a closer look at the many benefits of cracking open a book rather than scrolling through your iPhone. Let’s take a closer look at 25 scientific benefits of reading and how reading will affect us all.
1. Reading Is Free Education
We’re all aware that education comes at a price. Tuition, classes, educational software, textbooks…These are just a few things that make education pretty expensive. However, if you want to read a book from your local or school library, it is free! If you want to learn something about an academic topic or just want to read a book to relax before you go to sleep, your library has what you’re looking for at no charge! Isn’t that something?
2. Reading Boosts Your Brainpower
Among the most impressive benefits of reading a book is that it will boost your brainpower! Extensive research by neuroscientists has revealed that reading a book improves the functions of our brain at various levels. Researches discovered that when we read books, the connectivity in our brain is stimulated and enhanced. So we could say that reading makes us smarter!
3. Reading Means More Knowledge
You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that reading has mental benefits such as increased intelligence. But it’s not only intelligence. The more you read, the more you’ll know. It’s not that you’ll remember all the details you’ve been reading about, but one thing is certain. You will gather knowledge that may come in handy one day.
4. Reading Works For Better Intelligence
Your fluid intelligence will improve. This has to do with your problem-solving and pattern-detecting skills. When we read, we are thinking and reasoning continuously and try to remember the things that were happening earlier in the book. Our brain is a very complex system that allows us to remember so many things and connect the dots. Isn’t it amazing?
5. Reading Is Mental Stimulation
Our brain requires lots of exercises, just like the other muscles in our bodies. This will keep our brain healthy and strong. Playing games like chess or doing puzzles are very helpful exercises with cognitive stimulation. Mental stimulation empowers the brain, slows down the aging process, and may even help to lower the chances of developing Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
6. Reading Boosts Self-Esteem
Being well-spoken and articulate will be very helpful in your professional and social environment. If you know that you can speak to everyone with self-confidence, regardless of their position, your self-esteem will definitely get a boost. It goes without saying that you will benefit immensely from this development.
7. Reading Leads To Professional Advancement
With an increased self-confidence due to your enhanced communication skills through reading, your career may also benefit. People who are knowledgeable on many topics and well-read and well-spoken, usually get promotions far more often and quickly than their peers with more limited vocabularies and less general knowledge.
8. Reading Enhances Memory
When reading books, we need to remember all sorts of characters including their history, backgrounds, and nuances. We also have to concentrate on sub-plots that are woven through the stories. Our brains have, fortunately, the power to do all those things with ease so we can connect existing memories with new brain pathways to strengthen existing ones.
9. Reading Strengthens Analytical Skills
Reading will lead to better analytical and critical thinking skills. When you read, you take note of the details provided. You sort them out and determine “whodunnit” often before you’ve finished the book, right? So then, you’ve been to put your analytical and critical thinking skills to work.
10. Reading Improves Concentration
Reading a book draws all of our attention to the story. The rest of the world around us falls away and we can immerse ourselves in the details of the book. We live in an internet-crazed environment which means that in the shortest time span, we need to focus on a zillion different things at once as we’re skyping, snap-chatting, and emailing through our days and that deteriorates our concentration. These more or less ADD behaviors cause lots of stress and lower our productivity. When reading a book, we focus our entire attention on what we read and our concentration is improved.
11. Reading Expands Vocabulary
Reading benefits our vocabulary so we can better communicate with the people around us and understand the word better as well. The more we read, the more words we’re getting exposed to and, inevitably, these words will make their way into our everyday vocabulary. It is obvious that this aspect affects so many other topics listed here.
12. Reading Boosts Writing Skills
Developing better writing skills is related to expanding our vocabulary. When reading, we expose our brain to usually well-written texts which will also affect our own writing capabilities. Just like painters learn from and use the techniques developed by previous painters, and musicians develop their skillset by listening to other musicians and studying and playing their pieces, our writing skills will improve when we read written works.
13. Reading Improves Employability
Reading books makes you more articulate, more intellectual, wiser, and an opener person that can express yourself adequately. When you’re looking for a well-suited professional environment, your employability will definitely be better if you’ve read books a lot. You’ll be a better communicator and come across as self-assured thanks to your enhanced knowledge on so many topics.
14 Reading Brings New Perspectives
Reading allows you to open your mind to new perspectives which, in turn, can lead to greater creativity. Reading may well make you feel more comfortable with ambiguity and thinking outside the box and venturing into uncharted waters of thought will offer so many new perspectives.
15. Reading Brings Stress Relief
Research has shown that reading is the best way to reduce stress. It is more effective than taking a walk, listening to music, playing a video game, or having a drink or a cup of tea. Studies have shown that after merely five minutes of reading, the muscles relax and the heart rate slows. When you’re reading a book, your focus must be on what you read so you get distracted in that specific literary world.
16. Reading Lets You Sleep Better
Sometimes, people experience some difficulty with falling asleep as their minds are racing and worrying about things. Reading a book, if only just for a few minutes, can be very helpful to push whatever kept you awake from your mind. Books don’t produce the blue light that electronic devices do. So after a long day, winding down and falling asleep will be easier and healthier than checking your Facebook page or watch some Netflix series. Sure, there are books that are more stressful and action-packed and that won’t help but, in general, reading helps to fall asleep quietly.
17. Reading Brings Mental Tranquility
Reading a good book will make you feel relaxed but additionally, it may well be that the book you’re reading brings about tranquility and inner peace. Reading spiritual books often not only has a calming effect, but it is also known for lowering blood pressure levels. Reading a self-help book may also benefit people suffering from mental and mood disorders.
18. Reading Leads To Enhanced Empathy
Your emotional intelligence will improve. Frequent readers are more likely to have better empathetic skills and will be emotionally more in sync with the people around them. This is because as we read, we are drawn into an imaginary world where we have to connect with the characters and situations involved.
19. Reading Eases Symptoms of Depression
Studies have indicated that reading may be very beneficial to ease the symptoms of depression. Therapeutic help in combination with reading self-help books eased the symptoms of depression much better and faster than therapy alone. So reading books, particularly books that offer advice or include themes and characters you can well relate to, are great for improving your mental health.
20. Reading Is Free Entertainment
Read a book is so much cheaper than most other activities or entertainment. If you like going to the movies, you know what I’m talking about! Well, reading a book at the library costs you nothing! Libraries are constantly in the process of adding new books so no worries that you’ll miss out on anything you haven’t read yet. Books take you to a different world but without having to pay for the airfare.
21. Reading Can Be Contagious
By reading books you may also encourage others to do so. Many parents would like their children to read more and when you exposing your kids to your book-reading habits, chances are they may also pick up a book. Parents who have children in preschool or elementary school should be reading aloud to them or even together with them when they’re old enough to read on their own. Studies have shown that reading together with your kids is highly inspirational for them to become avid readers themselves.
22. Reading Enhances Imagination
Albert Einstein already said that our imagination is more important than our knowledge. He stated that knowledge is what we currently understand and know, while imagination is pointing to all the things we might discover and create. Reading a book offers us endless possibilities for using our imagination. When reading a book, we stimulate our brain’s right side to let our creativity run wild.
23. Reading Promotes Mental Health
Research indicates that individuals who activate their brain by reading books or playing mentally challenging games are stimulating their brain very effectively. It’s like training your muscles. To stay in shape, people need exercise and this also counts for the brain. Reading books help to prevent, as stated above as well, mental disorders. Saying mentally alert through challenging activities may be very beneficial for slowing the progress of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
24. Reading Decreases Alzheimer’s Risk
Reading is taking lots of brainpower. The mental cognition aspects of reading help to lower the beta-amyloid protein levels associated with Alzheimer’s. Researchers found direct associations between mental demanding activities and beta-amyloid protein levels. So reading a book frequently is definitely helpful in reducing the risk of developing serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s.
25. Reading Brightens Your Day
Reading books brings joy to your life, every day! As reading books brings many benefits both mentally and physically, it will definitely brighten your day. We all experience worrisome or stressful days but when we lay down and curl up with some good book, our spirits will be lifted and stress and worry will vanish. Books are so easy to carry with you and especially today, with the ever-increasing popularity of e-readers, you can enjoy reading a good book anytime, anywhere.
The importance of reading is so well stated in the old saying: The more you read, the more you’ll learn – the more you learn, the more places you’ll go…(Dr. Seuss)