Read, Read, and Read

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Books can take you so many different places. You can travel through time and go meet characters that make you smile. Reading can be such a fun activity and as it turns out really does benefit us. So all those teachers who spent years telling us how important it is to read have science to support their encouragement.

Stimulate the mind – More and more research is showing how important it is to keep the mind active and stimulated especially in relationship to slowing or even preventing dementia. Reading is one good way to keep the brain active and allow it to get some exercise to keep in healthy. Translation – slower cognitive decline!

Reduce the stress – With many of our lives swirling in chaos and stress, losing yourself in a story or article allows your mind to focus on the reading and the present moment. This allow you to forget about the rest of the world helping to reduce your stress levels.

Increases knowledge – When you read you are taking in new information. Maybe that is in the form of vocabulary or new and interesting facts, but either way you are engaging the brain and collecting knowledge. You never know when particular information comes in handy.

Expands vocabulary – As briefly mentioned above, reading is a great way to expand your vocabulary. When reading you are exposed to many different words which find their way into your vocabulary. Being well spoken has numerous benefits in personal and professional situations. Bonus! Reading is a great way to learn new languages as you gain exposure to vocabulary in context.

Improving memory – Neuroplasticity is the concept that the brain can continue to grow, evolve, strengthen, and make new connections. When reading, the brain is asked to remember what it has previously read. By creating new memories, the brain makes those new connections or strengthens existing ones. Translation – It helps short-term memory recall and mood stabilization. Reading also asks the brain to connect different parts such as vision, language, and associative learning which for the brain is a bit challenging.

Boosts analytical thinking skills – Have you ever read a mystery and found yourself solving it before finishing the book? Have you ever found yourself deconstructing the plot of a book or critiquing character development? You were activating your critical and analytical thinking skills.

Improvement in focus and concentration – Many times during the day you may be asking your brain to multitask or as studies have shown switch your attention rapidly between tasks. The brain can really only focus on one thing at a time. When you are multitasking your brain is rapidly switching between tasks. When you read, your attention is focused solely on the story which helps with your focus.

Improve writing skills – When reading you are exposed to different writing styles that are usually well-written. Inevitably these styles may influence your own writing style.

Invite calm – Depending on the subject you are reading about, it may be possible to help bring about a sense of tranquility.

Boost empathy – Reading allows the reader to strength their ability to understand others’ feelings.

Strengthen goals – Reading about how others have empowered themselves to reach their goals can be motivating for the reader.

Best of all reading can be free! While purchasing a book can be fun, the library is always a great option. Libraries have paper books but many also have PDF or ePub formats as well. Doing a google search brings up google books where you can read books online and even in the Apple store there are free books.

Now curl up and enjoy a good book!

Resources and References:
Lifehack – 10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day
Reader’s Digest – Benefits of Reading: Getting Smart, Thin, Healthy, Happy
Real Simple – 8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book
Huffpost Healthy Living – 6 Science-Backed Reasons To Go Read A Book Right Now
Journal of Direct Instruction – What Reading Does for the Mind
The Wall Street Journal – Read Slowly to Benefit Your Brain and Cut Stress
Weird – Reading A Novel Alters Your Brain Connectivity – So What?
Scholastic – 5 Physical Benefits of Reading

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