Benefits of Reading for Your Brain and Quality of Life
If you enjoy reading, you can agree that nothing compares to the smell of an old book or the sound of a fresh one being opened. Immersing yourself in a page-turner has advantages for your enjoyment and health.
Did you know that 88% of Americans who read e-books do so in addition to paper books? We can't bring ourselves to give up the pleasure of a good, old-fashioned book, even though we all appreciate the convenience of digital downloads and a lower workload.
Even though more and more individuals now own e-books, genuine books are still around, and there will always be advantages to reading them.
The best part is that reading is more than just pleasurable. It’s one of the most beneficial behaviors you can have.
Why is reading beneficial?
The advantages of reading books are endless. But let's face it: When we have options like watching a movie, listening to an audiobook, or watching a YouTube video synopsis, it might not be easy to get ourselves to read a 382-page book.
What are the advantages of reading books, then?
You can focus, remember things better, have more empathy, and communicate more effectively if you read. You can live longer and experience a reduction in stress thanks to it. You can discover new things through reading to support your success in relationships and business.
The value of reading cannot be overlooked, even if you only read because you have to. Reading is particularly advantageous because it provides access to many resources.
What are some of the advantages of reading a book?
Okay, so we've discussed why reading is essential and why you should read, but let's get more specific about the benefits of reading.
The connections in your brain get stronger by reading.
Numerous studies are beginning to show that reading changes your brain.
Researchers have verified a source that reading includes a sophisticated network of circuits and messages in the brain using MRI images. These networks also grow stronger and more sophisticated as your reading skills advance.
Functional MRI scans were used in one 2013 study to examine the brain's response to reading a novel. Participants in the study read the book "Pompeii" over nine days. As the story tension increased, more parts of the brain lit up with activity.
This research discovered that reading a novel boosted communication between the brain regions in charge of language processing. The bilateral somatosensory cortex, a region of the brain responsible for processing sensory data, underwent long-term modifications due to it.
Some other benefits of reading that are connected to strengthening the brain are:
- Reading activates pre-existing neural networks in the brain.
- Reading complicated poetry, in particular, keeps the brain flexible and active.
- Regular brain activities, such as reading, reduce mental deterioration in the elderly by 32%.
- Your brain can remember details from the stories you read, forming new connections and strengthening those already present. As a result, your memory and recall skills for short-term information are enhanced.
When you read a book, there are several things you need to keep in mind, such as the many characters, the main narrative, and any minor subplots that may have occurred. And that's the central aspect that generates many benefits for your brain.
In addition, reading has been shown to reduce stress and increase relaxation. Reading benefits from meditative properties since it requires the brain to concentrate completely on one job at a time. This helps lower your stress levels.
According to a 2009 study by Sussex University researchers, reading has been linked to up to a 68% reduction in stress.
Increases concentration and memory
Do you frequently forget things? Don't worry; one benefit of reading is that it can help you remember things better.
Reading a non-fiction book also allows you to learn about the subject being addressed.
Similarly, anytime you read a novel, you must remember many details regarding the main narrative and supporting characters, as well as the setting where the story is set.
All of this new information produce new memories. And each new memory either develops new synapses or reinforces existing ones. The result? A stronger memory.
Daily reading will help you learn how to retain new knowledge better and retrieve memories, which will strengthen your memory.
Despite not being a muscle, the brain can still benefit from exercise. Reading is a cognitively challenging activity that can improve memory and focus, much like lifting weights makes us physically stronger.
According to a 2013 study of senior men and women, individuals who engaged in mentally demanding activities like reading and writing had slower rates of memory impairment both early on and later in life than those who did not.
It may help you live longer.
In an analysis of long-term health and retirement in a 12-year study by Trusted Source, which included 3,635 adult participants, it was discovered that individuals who read books lived about two years longer than those who either didn't read or read magazines and other types of media.
Additionally, the study found that those who read for more than 3 1/2 hours per week had a 23% higher chance of living longer than those who read nothing.
Reduce cognitive decline due to aging.
As already mentioned, reading is a fantastic technique to exercise our brains and become more intelligent and acute. It also has the added benefit of preventing age-related cognitive deterioration.
The ability to learn, remember and make decisions are all aspects of cognition. Attention and memory are the two facets of cognitive functioning most likely to be impacted by aging.
Another study illustrates that elderly persons who read frequently or engage in mentally demanding activities like chess have a 2.5 times lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
It increases your knowledge.
Learning is one of the most evident advantages of daily reading.
And books give you access to in-depth knowledge, unlike a podcast or a video on YouTube.
There are many methods to learn more about life, from reading fiction to self-help literature. You can cheer yourself up even when you're feeling down by reading a motivational biography. The fact that the knowledge you get from books cannot be taken away from you is one of the many advantages of reading. Your knowledge will be with you forever, unlike material stuff.
Everything may be learned from books. For instance, Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, always responds, "I read books," when someone asks how he learned to construct rockets.
Increases your vocabulary
Researchers have discovered that children that consistently read books, starting at a young age, gradually grow enormous vocabularies. Furthermore, vocabulary size can impact various aspects of your life, including standardized test results, college admissions, and employment prospects.
How does reading aid in communication and expand your vocabulary?
When we read well-written material, we unavoidably take note of the composition, cadence, and writing style. Similar to how different musicians inspire one another, these traits inevitably find their way into our work.
According to a 2019 Cengage research, 69% of employers are eager to hire workers with "soft" skills, such as the capacity for good communication. Reading books is the easiest way to expand your exposure to new terms in context.
Reading can help you become more empathic.
Reading an excellent book might help you relate to other people more. According to the study, literary fiction, in particular, can assist readers in realizing what others are thinking by interpreting other people's emotions.
The "theory of mind," as researchers know it, is a collection of skills necessary for creating, negotiating, and sustaining social connections.
Though this impression is unlikely to arise from reading a book of literary fiction in a single sitting, studies have revealed that long-term fiction readers have more fully formed theories of mind.
Another study discovered that reading fiction that delves into characters' inner selves and emotions enhances our capacity to comprehend the thoughts and viewpoints of others.
For instance, reading about characters like Harry Potter or Jane Eyre who see the world from their families', friends', and coworkers' perspectives might teach us how to do the same.
Reading before going to bed can improve your sleep.
Reading an actual book rather than vegging out in front of a screen before bed promotes relaxation. E-readers and tablets with screens can make sleeping more challenging and keep you awake longer. That also applies to children: according to studies in Pediatrics, 54% of kids sleep near a small screen and get 20 minutes less sleep per night on average. So, grab the liter.
What are the advantages of reading to your children?
The Cleveland Clinic's medical staff advises parents to read to their kids from infancy through the primary school years. Children are more likely to find reading enjoyable in the future if you read to them and create warm, happy associations with books.
Numerous studies carried out and commissioned have shown how reading significantly impacts a child's development. According to one study, reading helps kids develop their literacy abilities later in life, promotes adult-child social contact, and helps kids become more aware of their surroundings. Additionally, it describes how reading can serve as a child's lifelong "reliable supply of information." This constancy can be extremely helpful for kids growing up in difficult situations because it gives them consistent access to the text.
Reading to your kid can be beneficial in so many ways, including:
- building empathy
- developing higher levels of discipline and concentration
- facilitating mental growth
- improving language abilities
- strengthening existing connections
- increasing understanding
What Function Do Stories Play in Children's Education?
Reading to children can create a lifelong love of books. Numerous studies have discovered a link between leisure reading and better academic performance across all subject areas, not just English.
How to Teach Your Child to Read
Reading aloud is a fun pastime that kids and adults can both enjoy. Additionally, it is a rewarding pastime that teachers should constantly promote at school and home.
When you read with your child at home, you supplement what they learn in school and provide them one-on-one support, which the classroom cannot provide. Consider the following for successful and productive reading sessions:
- Begin early. Even in infancy, a kid can look at images and hear your voice. Read aloud to your child, pointing to the images on the page and naming the objects that appear.
- Make it a regular part of your day. Please make an effort to read to your child every day and to keep it regular.
- Encourage diversity. Try to mix up the books you read with your child as much as possible. Their eyes will be opened to various other worlds, cultures, and characters, and their imagination will be free to develop and grow.
- Stay patient. We occasionally lose sight of how it felt to be that age and how we behaved. If they don't comprehend, take your time and be understanding.
- Continue the discussion. Consider attempting to continue the story after reading it to your child. Depending on their age, you could quiz them on what they just read.
The bottom line
Reading has numerous advantages, so try to do more of it! Read whenever you can, about whatever you like. If you have children, a younger sister, brother, or even nephews, read to them. Reading to them can do much more good than you realize.