If you’re anything like me, a good book is like a cup of warm soup on a cold, winter’s day – satisfying to your soul! Reading is definitely beneficial, in 2021 when we are bombarded with TV shows, information on YouTube, and many others, we neglect reading. But why is reading so important? Let’s find out…
What are the benefits of reading?
1. It helps build your vocabulary
Our brains, like any other organ in our body, need to be active and needs exercise. We exercise our brains by reading. When we read, we are learning new words constantly and this in turn, builds our vocabulary, which makes us better communicators and better writers.
2. It increases your ability to empathise
Reading books about other people allows us to be more empathetic and understanding towards others. Research shows that people who read are more open-minded to others and in turn, are better friends and listeners.
3. Helps prevent cognitive decline
The National Institute on Aging recommends reading books and magazines as a way of keeping your mind engaged as you grow older. Reading every day maintains and improves your cognitive functioning. A 2013 study conducted by Rush University Medical Center found that people who’ve engaged in mentally stimulating activities were less likely to develop the plaques, lesions, and tau-protein tangles found in the brains of people with dementia.
4. Reading reduces stress
Reading a good book reduces your stress levels because your focus and concentration is no longer on your problems, but is now focused on the book you’re reading. This is not to say that you can avoid your problems altogether, but it is good to take time out to read and refocus your mind.
5. Helps reduce depression symptoms
Often times, depression can make a person feel isolated and estranged from everyone else. Books can help ease that feeling. Reading fiction allows one to temporarily escape reality and become swept up in the imagined experiences of the characters. Nonfiction self-help books can teach you strategies that may help you manage symptoms of depression, and these are also highly recommended.
6. Reading Improves Concentration and Memory
Reading not only improves the connections in the brain but also increases attention span, concentration, and memory. If you are having difficulty concentrating, reading can increase your attention span.
How to read more:
Many times we have the desire to read, some people even vow to read at least one book a month, but at the end of the year, that one book a month turned into half a book a year. Don’t worry, here are some practical ways to read more and actually accomplish those reading goals:
1. Separate your work/school reading from your pleasure reading:
When you need to read for work or school, it becomes a must and not something that you want to do for fun. You may then neglect reading for your own pleasure. In this case, have a separate reading spot for each, for example, keep work or school reading at a desk, whereas reading for pleasure you can keep at your bedside.
2. Listen to audiobooks
Audiobooks, although not physically reading, it counts as reading too, because you are absorbing information. If you’re short of time, this is something you can do while you’re busy doing chores or even running errands.
3. Limit screen time
Social media apps like Facebook and WhatsApp can take up a lot of time – before you know it, we end up spending hours on our cell phones. TV and video games are also a thief of time; it is very tempting to rather sit and watch a movie than read a book. However, watching a movie is not nearly as satisfying as completing a book.
4. Include reading in your daily routine
Make time for reading every day, even if it is just 10 minutes at the end of your day, or 5 pages a day of a book. Set a time at night when you’d read (this can also be in the morning or for lunch break) and stick to this time. A routine becomes a habit, a habit becomes a lifestyle and before you know it, you’re an avid reader.
5. Read in short breaks
Another option would be to read during your breaks, such as when you’re travelling on a train, just be sure not to miss your station!
Although reading is vital, be sure to take breaks from it as well. If you’re a complete bookworm (such as myself) it is easy to be swayed away by a good book and before you know it, you’ve spent the entire night reading. This will not benefit you in the long run because it will leave you exhausted.
Did you know a novel without the letter “e” exists? Read here to find out more.
Tell us: what are your reading habits?