This blog was contributed by Rebecca Temsen and first appeared in Self Development Secrets.
Books are everywhere. Libraries big and small and bookstores are splattered all over college campuses and larger cities. They are all filled with one of the most important things of all time—books. Those who read books appreciate the multiple places to find books. Those who aren’t fans of books, don’t understand what could make readers want to obsess over books. There is a reason for their obsession, though.
You hear it all the time: read every day. But why is reading so important? Can words, paragraphs, and fictional worlds be all that great for you and your health? It definitely can, and reading is a timeless form of entertainment and information. In fact, for years reading was the only form of personal entertainment, and perhaps this is why reading has been in the spotlight for such a long time. Reading has survived the years, and luckily, the benefits have survived right along with the books. So let’s talk about some reasons why reading is important.
* We asked over 200 influencers what they think is the best self-help books and here are the results. *
How Reading Benefits Us
Though reading might seem like simple fun, it can be helping your body and mind without you even realising what is happening. For those who don’t enjoy reading, you might change your mind after hearing about the benefits. Can something so easy and fun as reading be so helpful in your life? Of course, it can! Reading can be a great benefit to you in many different ways—such as sharpening your mind, imagination, and writing skills. With so many great advantages, it should be an everyday occurrence to read at least a little something.
The benefits of reading range from improving mental health, to improving physical health, to creating healthy habits, and it’s no wonder that books and reading are so high up on the list of personal entertainment. Though books have been around for an incredibly long time, they have not lost their importance throughout the years. Below are a few of the fantastic benefits of picking up a good book and immersing yourself in words.
- Sharpens Your Mind
Reading is great fun for many people, but it also has many benefits for your mental health in the form of thinking and understanding. By concentrating on the words and the storyline, it stimulates your brain. This particular stimulation can help sharpen your mind, especially the part of the brain that is responsible for concentration and critical analysis. Reading sharpens this part of the brain much like you would sharpen a knife. This sharpening of the mind will eventually heighten your focus when concentrating on something important.
The Importance Of Books
How does reading sharpen your mind, though? It sharpens your mind through stimulation of the brain. By causing you to focus intensely on the words, your brain takes in a significant amount of information, which can improve both your critical thinking and analyzation skills as well. This stimulation is healthy for your mind and the sharpening your thought processes. Isn’t it amazing how a book can do that? Of course, some of the most successful people in the world read every day and they understand that knowledge is key. So it may be time to heed their advice if you want to be closer to your dream.
Reading doesn’t just help with your critical thinking, but it also improves your brain function. Consider what happens when you work a muscle every day. That muscle grows and becomes much stronger than before. Reading works much the same way for your mind. The constant stimulation of the brain that reading provides is similar to the exercise required to work a muscle; it strengthens the separate parts of the brain that control your thinking and analysing skills.
- Increases Your Vocabulary
When reading, you might come across a few words you don’t quite understand or even recognise. This confusion can lead you to look up the word and discover the definition. Dictionaries, both in book form or ebook form, can be beneficial to your understanding this new word you might not recognise. Because you didn’t know the word, to begin with, the act of searching for the definition helps your brain retain that new and exciting word. Consider how far your vocabulary has come since you first learned to read. You now know many new words that are more intelligent sounding than when you first started reading.
What does this do to benefit you? Well, after several days of reading and looking up new words you don’t understand, your vocabulary will begin to expand one word at a time. Words and phrases, when reading every day, fill your brain with a new vocabulary that you might never have learned without reading. This is proven in this study by the University Of Oregon.
Often, you might not even realise how much your vocabulary has increased after even just one day of heavy reading. These words that you have been learning will begin to integrate themselves into your everyday vocabulary, and you will start to catch yourself using these words. It is incredible how much you take in while reading, and this aspect of understanding is another significant benefit of daily reading.
- Lowers Your Stress
Most people know from experience that reading is a great form of entertainment, but what you and those other people might not realise is that reading can help lower stress levels. You read that little fact right, though it seems strange to say. The act of reading and focusing on the written word can help relieve your mind of the pressures of the day. By pulling your mind away from the stress at hand, you can relax and let the stress melt away.
Reading sounds almost too good to be true, but how does reading decrease stress? While reading, your brain immediately transports itself to a different world with different people. This change in pace can be a breath of fresh air for someone who is stressed out or suffers from extended periods of stress. By reading, you can allow yourself to take a breath, relax, and be swept away to another world through the words written on the page.
Stress can affect many parts of your daily life, and after long periods of intense stress, it can even be harmful to your overall health. Reading, both novels, and other literature can help solve the issues that stress causes by allowing your mind and body to relax. Once you start reading, you will start to focus, not on your stress, but on the words and storyline. In time, reading will lower your stress level, making you feel better mentally and physically.
- Decreases Your Depression
Reading, especially self-help books, can help ward off depressive occurrences. Just like with lowering your stress levels, reading stimulates the part of the brain that deals with depression as well. Self-help books, full of information about how to better yourself and your state of mind, can help ease depression. Reading books can be extremely beneficial for someone who might suffer from depressive tendencies but not enough to need medication.
You can find self-help books at any bookstore or online bookshop. They aren’t the only books that can help ease the depressive tendencies of some, however. Novels, short stories, magazine articles, and non-fiction books can also contribute to ease these tendencies. By reading, you are focusing, not on the things causing your depression, but things that can give you something else to consider. You are then no longer worried about your depressive state, but instead, you are focused on the story.
Decreasing depression might seem like an odd benefit of reading, but the stimulation of the brain is extremely helpful when it comes to easing something of this nature. The feeling of happiness that also comes from reading can brighten your mood, helping your day turn from sad to happy. Of course, reading is not a permanent fix for a serious problem, but it can help ease the difficulties of depression. Reading literature works much like a pain reliever might relieve joint pain.
- Improves Your Memory and Focus
Though it has been mentioned earlier about how reading can improve concentration and critical thinking, there is another part of mental health that reading helps to improve. This point is stated by NCU on their blog. Reading at least a little each day can improve your focus and your memory function. In this instance as well, reading stimulates the brain, particularly the part of the brain that helps with memory and attention. Just like with physical exercise, reading is a form of mental exercise that pushes your memory and focus to the limits.
Simple reading comprehension improves your memory function. Remember the tests in elementary school where you were tested to see how much you retained while reading those short stories. Well, the reading comprehension as an adult works the same way. While reading, your brain is constantly retaining pieces of information about the story. Because the part of the brain that controls memory is stimulated, it acts like exercise for this part of the brain, resulting in improved memory.
How does your focus improve through reading? Your focus is strengthened through reading because it requires focus to read. When sitting down to read a book or article, you will not understand what you are reading unless you’re focused. Consider what it is like when doing a math problem. To get it correct, you have to focus intently on that problem. The same goes for reading. Again, like the memory function in your brain, your focus is exercised, which helps to improve your overall focus.
- Strengthens Your Writing Abilities
Reading doesn’t just have health benefits; reading has benefits for other aspects of your life as well. These advantages help to make readers well-rounded individuals. Those who write, know the importance of reading. Whether you write things for work or just for fun, heavy reading can improve your writing skills and abilities. There are several ways in which reading can help strengthen your writing skills, and each of these ways happens without you even realising it.
Why Is Reading And Writing Important?
Writers are often big readers as well because they seek the fulfilment of reading. By concentrating on the way novels and other books are set up and written, you can mimic these styles, thus improving your writing skills considerably. Studying the writing of others is a great tool, especially if you enjoy writing. Even best-selling authors use this tool for studying writing styles and themes.
The best part about reading about how to improve your writing is there are various books written about the writing craft with information about all forms of writing. You can find these self-help books at any bookstore, both online or in store. If you are a serious writer, you can read both novels or these amazing books on writing. Any form of reading can improve your writing tremendously.
- Enhances Your Imagination
Although the enhancement of your imagination is not one of the more common benefits, reading can significantly increase your imagination. Consider the worlds that you are immersed to and the characters you come across while reading a novel. Because of these worlds and characters, the part of your brain which houses your imagination is stimulated, causing you to imagine what the places and people look like just by picturing the words.
When you begin reading a book, you usually don’t have a picture in your head right at the start. By the time you are finishing the book, however, you can easily imagine the entire world and characters that fill the book. Reading books is all due to the stimulation of the brain that reading induces. Heavy readers will know the feeling of losing themselves in the worlds of novels. It is a wonderful feeling.
The imagination is a powerful tool that can be useful in all aspects of life. Though it might not be considered as often, the imagination is what allows us to be empathetic with people. This empathy can help on the job or even at home. With reading being an excellent way to improve your imagination, it is no wonder that books have been a favourite for so many years.
- Boosts Your Sleep
Did you know that reading can also help with your sleep? No, this doesn’t mean that reading helps you fall asleep, but it does contribute to improving your overall sleep pattern and restfulness. Reading, since it enables you to relax and de-stress, can help pull you into a deep and peaceful sleep. That sounds like it might be too good to be true, but reading can, in fact, help you sleep.
Books are great company at night before you go to bed. Choosing a good book and settling down after dark is incredibly relaxing. If your day is busy, take a breath. By setting apart specific times for reading just before falling asleep at night, you can help yourself relax and wind down before falling asleep. The type of literature you read is your preference, but merely the fact that you are reading is the important part.
Reading before bed calms your body and mind, especially after a long and stressful day. Even if the reading is just a short amount—a chapter or two—the peacefulness that reading induces can help slip you into a deep and restful sleep. The relaxation that books can bring is just one of the wonderful benefits of reading every night before bed.
- Enjoy Your Entertainment and Peace
Perhaps the most well-known benefit of reading is the entertainment value of opening a book with crisp, white pages. Of course, the entertainment of reading is typically what draws avid readers to pick up the next great book. In fact, reading has been a solid form of entertainment for many years. Though reading is perfect for entertainment, there’s more to reading than just the entertainment factor.
Any reader knows that reading can be peaceful and induce a relaxing state of mind. By immersing yourself in a good book, you can almost feel any stress or worry melt away. You are both entertained and relaxed just by reading, which is just one of the many great things about books.
With the ability to entertain and induce peacefulness, reading has been a constant comfort to people of all ages and from all walks of life. For years, this entertainment factor has been at the forefront of literature. Books and other forms of writing are still just as popular today. The peaceful state of reading has been just an amazing as the entertainment. Many great readers and writers have mentioned the importance of reading throughout their careers, being advocates for reading.
- Reading Can Brighten Your Day
Books can bring joy to your life on a daily basis. The act of reading is a great benefit both to mental and physical health, but it can also brighten your day. Sometimes, the days can be stressful and worrisome, but when you lay down at night and curl up with a good book, it lifts your spirits along with that stress and worry.
There’s no reason to feel upset about stressful situations. Just take some time out from your day, read a little bit, and feel yourself relaxing. As compelling as meditation and yoga are at brightening your day, a little time spent alone with a book is a lovely way to spend your afternoon or night. Books are easy to carry around, especially with the popular e-readers, and you can enjoy your reading time anywhere.
From vacations to a quick moment while waiting in the carpool line, reading is an effective means of relaxation in an otherwise busy world. If you love to get up early, you should start your day with a little light reading. Your day will be just a little bit brighter, and you can breathe easy. Let books take a little weight off your shoulders so you can enjoy the things around you. Take a few moments for yourself and just read.
Books are amazing things that can be both entertaining and beneficial to your health. They are almost like tools to a healthy lifestyle. Those who don’t read can’t understand the love for reading, but those who read on a daily basis know the importance of diving into a good book. The books that you choose to read is your preference, which can range from romance to non-fiction. Often, people will read magazine articles or even textbooks if that is what they enjoy reading. Whatever you choose to read, you can count on the multiple benefits of reading to help both your mind and body.
It is easy to enjoy books when you are merely reading for pleasure. Heavy readers will always have a book in their hands as well. As a reader, you probably don’t think of the great benefits of reading either, but they are there even when you don’t realise it. From stress relief to improved memory, reading is hugely beneficial in all aspects of our lives. Reading is a great way to improve yourself all around.
You can find books anywhere, from the library to bookstores to thrift shops. It’s easy to seek out books that interests you. In fact, you can find books everywhere. If you aren’t sure where to find the best books, magazines or other literary works, all you have to do is type in a simple google search. The options of books or magazines to read are limitless. The kind of books you enjoy reading is as simple as trying out a few genres. If you prefer true stories, go with non-fiction. And if mystical stories of fantasy, romance, and tall tales are your cup of tea, then give fiction a chance.
If you aren’t an avid reader already, give it a shot. Reading might seem boring to some who have never truly read a great piece, but with a little time, you can love reading as well. With all of the amazing benefits of reading, it is definitely worth the time. Take a chance to help your mental and physical well-being. It’s quite simple; pick up a best seller, settle down in your cozy bed, and read! You might be surprised at the great fun that reading can be to you, and you might even become a heavy reader with time. Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget the incredible benefits of reading. One book is all it takes.
So take this challenge and start reading just one book today! If this post was helpful, do share! Finally, check out this infographic to make things easier to remember!
Rebecca Temsen is an author, entrepreneur and most of all a wife and mother of 2. What she enjoys the most is helping normal people reach their full potential. Rebecca uses her ever growing skills in writing to inspire people and not settle for a normal life. As an entrepreneur, she has no shortage of failures and that is why Rebecca is the ideal person to talk about this.