"It really doesn't matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book, you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author's imagination.
This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness." says Dr. David Lewis.
There are numerous ways to exercise your brain to make it stronger, faster, and just overall healthier. READING is just one way. In fact, it’s one of the ways you can exercise your brain every day.
So, what exactly do human beings get from reading books? Is it just a matter of pleasure, or are there benefits beyond enjoyment? The scientific answer is a “yes”.
When we read, not only are we improving memory and empathy, but research has shown that it makes us feel better and more positive too. Reading can transport us to another world, providing escape from everyday stress which in turn help in improving mental health.
Here’s HOW reading can improve your mental health while improving your vocabulary, writing and spoken language skills.
1. REDUCES STRESS: Did you ever notice how stress disappears when you lose yourself in a good read? If you’re looking for a way to de-stress, grab a book and let your mind forget about your problems for a while. According to a 2009 study, reading reduces stress levels by as much as 68 percent, which was more than listening to music, having a cup of tea, playing video games, or going for a walk.
2. BETTER SLEEP: A person in depression faces lots of sleeping problems but one effective way to sleep is by reading. Just lay on your bed, dim the lights and start reading. After 20 -30 minutes, you will start feeling drowsy and you will fall asleep. It can be helpful in giving you a sound sleep during your depression.
3. DEVELOP EMPATHY FOR OTHERS: Reading also help individuals become more empathetic and increase their self-awareness. Research has shown that people who read literary fiction, stories that explore the inner lives of characters, show a heightened ability to understand the feelings and beliefs of others. Researchers call this ability the “theory of mind,” a set of skills essential for building and maintaining social relationships.
4. MENTAL STIMULATION: Engaging in mentally stimulating activities such as reading can improve brain health. Exercising your brain can help prevent beta-amyloid deposits from developing. These are the destructive proteins that have become the hallmark of those who develop Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, staying mentally stimulated reduces the risks of Alzheimer’s and dementia. According to researchers, reading is more neurologically demanding than processing images because it involves many brain functions: vision, language, and associative learning.
5. READING WORKS YOUR BRAIN AND PREVENTS MEMORY LOSS: People who read every day maintain and improve their cognitive functioning. Participating in cognitive activities, such as reading over your life time is shown to slow down memory loss when compared to those who didn’t participate in mentally stimulating activities.
6. CONTRIBUTES TO A LONGER LIFE: The benefits of reading expand beyond reduced anxiety and stress. Studies have linked reading to good brain health in old age. Individuals who read regularly across their lifespan showed increased mental capacity as they aged. Those individuals who read less and did not continue to engage their brains in old age experience a mental decline rate that is 48 percent faster than those who kept their brains active across their lives.
Reading is very, very good for a person. It’s especially important for children to read as much as possible because the effects of reading are cumulative. However, it’s never too late to begin taking advantage of the many physical and psychological benefits waiting for you in the pages of a good book.