Health Benefits of Reading
Be honest: when someone suggests a book to you, are you excited, or do you groan, begrudging the chore of reading? Reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it comes with numerous benefits!
If you’re not into fictional books, there are a TON of other genres that may spark your interest: nonfiction, memoirs, cookbooks, poetry, spiritual, children’s, and even graphic novels. Daily reading can greatly increase your productivity, creativity, and mental well-being no matter your preference.
Read on to find out how!
1 – Reading Strengthens Your Brain
When you read a book, dozens of neurotransmitters light up in your brain, stimulating brain growth. As you continue reading over long periods, the circuits and signals that are sparked during the reading process get stronger and more sophisticated.
You can quite literally grow your brain just by reading every day – who knew, right?!
2 – Reading Increases Your Ability To Empathize
Reading books about people, their feelings, emotions, and hardships, can help you become more empathic. Diving into an author’s personal journey or going on adventures with a character who encounters traumas can help you feel more connected to the human experience, and therefore more connected to those around you.
Taking what you learn in a book and applying it to your personal life can truly aid in making lasting relationships, which are essential to our overall well-being.
3 – Reading Prevents Cognitive Decline & Supports Cognitive Development
Studies have shown that people who read regularly are less likely to develop mental deterioration as they age. It’s particularly helpful if you start reading at a young age, as the process helps to continually stimulate the mind, staving off age-related illnesses, even including dementia. Reading as you get older can also reduce memory decline by more than 30 percent, compared to other forms of mental activity.
If you have kids, be sure you’re reading with them as often as possible! Cognitive development is absolutely essential. It’s all about how a person thinks about and understands their world through information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, attention span, and memory. When you begin reading out loud to your child, it essentially provides them with background knowledge on their young world, which helps them make sense of what they see, hear, and read.
Basically, reading helps keep you young (and don’t we all want that?)
4 – Reading Reduces Stress & Depression Symptoms
Studies show that reading for only 30 minutes a day can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and psychological distress. Due to the calming nature of reading, your body is able to relax and return to a state of homeostasis, which keeps us functioning at our best. Simply opening a book invites you into different literary worlds that can distract you from daily stressors. This relaxes your body, lowers your heart rate, and eases tension in your muscles.
Furthermore, reading about topics that make you happy or reading fictional books that allow you to escape reality for short periods of time can also effectively prevent depression symptoms. Keeping your mind healthy and happy is SO important to your overall well-being.
5 – Reading Improves Sleep
Reading before bed has been proven to be an effective way to get a good night’s rest. Firstly, because reading a book is better for your eyes than scrolling on your phone before bed. And secondly, as we’ve mentioned, reading can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, helping you relax before bed.
Reading helps put your consciousness on another plane, which will induce sleep. It helps you move into a fictional world, easing the tension and helping you relax. Enjoying a book can be a natural segue to easing you into sleep and helping you stay asleep. And we all know how important sleep is to both your mental and physical health!
This is just the tip of the iceberg on the benefits of reading, but as you can see, reading can be such an integral part of your mental, physical, and even emotional health.
Using books as a tool for emotional growth and mental strength is a great practice and is usually pretty fun.
What are some of your favorite books? Let me know in the comments below! 👇👇👇👇