If you’re reading this article, you probably love to read. It’s an activity that brings you great pleasure – the feeling of getting lost in a book, the texture of the pages, the beautiful art on the cover. We all know why we love to read, but have you ever stopped to think about why reading might actually be good for you? If you ever needed more of an incentive to read (we know you don’t, but hear us out), here’s a list of benefits that reading brings to our minds and bodies.
Reading makes us smarter:
Well, duh! But we’re not talking just textbooks here. Reading any type of genre can make you smarter. Why? Because you’re exposing yourself to new language, to challenging ideas, to different places and interesting people.
It’s exercise for your brain:
You know how we have to keep our bodies fit by exercising? Well, the same goes for the brain – it’s another muscle that needs regular engagement in order to stay agile and alert. Reading is the perfect form of exercise for our noggins – it improves memory function, which helps us to better retain information as we age, and can drastically reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life.
Reading can make you more empathetic:
Ever gotten a bit teary over a novel? Turns out you’re not the only one, and there’s a good reason why. Science has proven that regular reading makes it easier for you to understand and relate to others. In improving your emotional intelligence, reading helps you to read people (not just books) by being more sensitive to what they are feeling and thinking.
Reading is relaxing:
Wait, what? Reading can be both a form of exercise and relaxation? That’s right! Reading, whilst stimulating, is also an escape, and is therefore a great way to momentarily forget about your problems. If you ever feel like you’re too caught up in your own thoughts, pick up a book – get lost in someone else’s thoughts for a while.
Reading is so relaxing, in fact, that it can help you nod off to sleep! Research suggests that developing a before-bed reading routine makes for a better night’s rest.
Books are great friends:
Books are like great friends – they are there for us when we feel lonely or lost, offering advice, guidance, and comfort in the hardest (and best) of times. In this way, reading becomes therapeutic – a means of self-reflection and growth, as we learn about ourselves and the world through the characters in our novels.
Feature image credit: Untitled by David Hettinger.