The Top 7 Benefits of Reading.
The habit of reading is one of the traits that we can boast. We live only one life, but with books we can gain knowledge and wisdom from thousands of lives.
Reading is not only for students or professionals. It is a way of enjoying informative, creative, and inspiring works of literature that cultivate and enrich your life experiences.
Reading doesn't just improve your knowledge, it can help fight depression, make you more confident and empathetic. It can also encourage positive thinking and better decision making. Researches suggest that reading for pleasure can help prevent conditions such as stress, depression and dementia.
Yet, despite all the benefits to mind, body, and society, plenty of people find it hard to sit down and start reading. It seems that we just don't have time to read more. We have work and family commitments; we have our mobile phone ringing and social media notifications to check.
Here's how your brain and body benefit when you crack open a book.
1. Books are the best nootropic
It is a well known fact that books are good for your brain. Regular reading improves your mind, leaving you some lifetime benefits. Some studies have shown that if you are constantly stimulating your mind, you slow the progress of mental diseases such as Alzheimer's and Dementia, since you keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power. Just like other muscles in your body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy. Doing puzzles and playing games such as chess have also have been found to be helpful with cognitive stimulation.
2. Reading books improves your mental operating system.
The best books are usually written when an author is in the flow state - the state of mind where everything seems to fit together and work perfectly. An author conveys their wisdom and knowledge into a book, and then the reader absorbs this wisdom through the words, thus getting into their own flow of understanding and develop your own sense of meaning.
Everything you read fills your head with new information and your mind gets to a higher level. Reading enhances your mental operating system; such as your speaking, writing, communications and thinking skills, and not only these skills get cultivated but they also run faster as reading becomes your habit.
The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you are to tackle any challenge you may face. Additionally, a bit of food for thought: whenever you are in desperate 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.
3. Enrich your vocabulary
Drawing from my own experience, reading books is also vital for learning new languages. As a non-native English speaker, reading English books and the exposure to words used in different contexts has enriched my English vocabulary extremely.
I remembered when I first time came to the UK, my vocabulary was limited, I often asked my friends the meaning of the words as I didn't understand and had been lost in translation. It made my life harder at that time to blend in with the locals and I felt embarrassed to keep asking them the questions. Then it made me felt isolated.
I then decided to read often and looked up the dictionary or thesaurus if I didn't understand the words. It became my habit. Now, I manage to read English books, non-fiction books or even academic journals for my studying.
The more I read, the more words I am exposed to. These words inevitably become my everyday vocabulary.
Being articulate and well-spoken is a bonus in many professions. It also boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem, knowing that you can communicate to your employers and with your colleagues or peers with confidence. It can help to boost your career at work as studies show that 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 small vocabulary and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs and global events.
4. Reading can melt away stress.
Eric Hoffer (1898-1983) an American moral and social Philosopher, once quoted "A man by himself is in bad company". And this is true, you can change this - by reading books you are not alone - you create company for yourself.
Snuggling up with a good read tamps down levels of unhealthy stress hormones such as cortisol. In a British study, participants engaged in an anxiety-provoking activity and then either read for a few minutes, listened to music, or played video games. The stress levels of those who read dropped 67%, which was a more significant dip than in the other groups.
5. Reading improve empathy.
Stories provide life-changing perspective, say York University researchers. Getting wrapped up in the lives of characters strengthens your ability to understand others’ feelings. Reading has huge power to make you see things from another person's point of view. Reading about people different to you, for example who come from another culture or background, can help you understand their perspective. Seeing the world through the eyes of Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice, for example, may make it easier for you to relate to your sisters viewpoint.
6. Reading can encourage life goals.
Reading about someone who overcomes challenges and difficulties may promote your motivation to meet your own goals. If you’d like a pay raise, following a character into the boss’s office may give you the courage to make the same request. The more you identify with a character and experience the events as if they were happening to you, the more likely you’ll be to take action.
Some studies suggest that when you identify with characters in a book, you experience a kind of real-life relationship that can enhance your sense of inclusion.
In addition to the relaxation that accompanies reading a good book, it's possible that the subject you read about can bring about immense inner peace and tranquility. Reading spiritual books can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm, while reading self-help books has shown to help people with certain mood disorder and mild mental illness.
Reading teaches us to be patient and calm, and increases our ability to focus on a single thing at a time.
Hi - I'm Misma. I'm married and live in Exeter, Devon. Originally I came from Indonesia and moved to live in England in 2005. I can say I travel well and I love seeing people and their cultures, their beliefs and values. I am a Christian. I try to live a healthy lifestyle and maintain healthy wellbeing. For more detail of my professional work - please click below.