The Many Benefits of Reading | RMHP Blog

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The Many Benefits of Reading

Why You Should Read Every Day, According to Science

Reading is good for you, and published research has proven that claim again and again. Here are six benefits of reading that will make you want to crack open a book, plus some tips on how to fit more reading time into your everyday life.

 

1. Reading improves your communication skills

Reading helps build your vocabulary, which has a direct impact on how effectively you’re able to communicate. When you read, you’ll gain access to a wealth of words that will help you describe how you’re feeling, help you explain a point clearly, and so much more.

 

2. Reading literally exercises your brain

Your brain is a muscle, which means you have to use it often if you want your mind to stay sharp. Research has even shown that mental stimulation, like reading, can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Research published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that elderly people who read regularly or play mentally challenging games are 2.5 times less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Reading can make you a more empathetic person

Theory of Mind is our capacity to understand that different people have different beliefs and that these often differ from our own internal beliefs and desires. This skill is vital for maintaining healthy social relationships and developing empathy.

 

Some research has shown that literary fiction in particular can help develop this important skill, likely because you’re reading about the characters and their emotions.

 

4. Reading helps reduce stress

There’s nothing quite as relaxing as getting lost in a good book, and research has even proven the stress-reducing abilities of reading. A 2009 study by the University of Sussex found that reading for a mere six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68 percent.

 

The key is to read for pleasure, not for work, school, or because of another obligation.

 

5. Reading self-help books really does help

According to the research, self-help books really are helpful. It’s called bibliotherapy, and a study published in the journal PLOS ONE showed that reading self-help books (along with support sessions around how to use the books) was associated with decreased depression levels after one year, compared to patients who only underwent more typical treatments for depression.

 

6. Reading can help you sleep better

We all know how important it is to get enough sleep, and it turns out that reading before bed can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. It’s not surprising that reading has such a positive impact on sleep, especially considering its stress-reducing effects.

 

Fitting more reading time into your everyday life

If you feel there’s never enough time in the day to read, try incorporating some of these tips into your routine:

 

  • Understand how habits are developed. Reading is a habit, and these tips for keeping up with your New Year’s Resolutions can be applied to all habits.
  • Designate a space and time for your reading. Find a comfortable spot for your reading and choose a time to read each day. As you begin to notice the positive effects of reading you may find yourself wanting to spend more and more time in your reading area.
  • Ask friends for book suggestions. Choosing a book to read can be half the battle, so ask your friends for their favorites. GoodReads is great tool for tracking your reading and finding new books to enjoy.

Visit your local library. Your library is a great place to find your next favorite read, and it’s free!

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