The Science-Backed Health Benefits of Reading

Reading is way more than just a hobby. It also has incredible health benefits that make it an excellent habit, ritual, or passion. When was the last time you read a book, magazine, or article? Keep reading to find out the benefits of reading backed by science and five reasons to start today.

A white table with a stack of books decorated with a white flower on top
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The Benefits of Reading

Mental Stimulation

Since reading keeps your brain active and engaged, it helps us maintain and develop cognitive stimulation. Much like a crossword or sudoku keeps us mentally active, reading has a similar effect on the brain. Mind stimulating activities like reading help improve memory, problem-solving skills and powers of reasoning.

Improved Concentration

In a fast-paced world, we are susceptible to distraction and multi-tasking. Luckily, reading is proven to help increase concentration levels. In fact, suffering from a short attention span or multi-tasking is a common issue nowadays. So, why not try reading as part of your daily routine? The next time you indulge in a book, remind yourself that getting lost in the pages has instant and long-term benefits. Think improved focus and increased attention span.

Stress Reduction

Reading has the power to transport you to another world far away from the stresses and burdens of daily life. Ever find yourself stressing about what the future holds, or what you did yesterday? Take some time out and notice how your worries slip away with a gripping read. It’s a great tool for those of us that tend to spiral into the trap of stress or a busy mind. Reading relaxes you “by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles”. Its element of distraction enables you to enjoy a stress-free relaxation period with long-lasting benefits. Stress reduction is definitely one of the benefits of reading.

Being Present

Sometimes it’s a struggle to stop your mind wandering beyond the present. You know, for example, overthinking about the past or worrying about the future. The good news is that reading is here to gift you presence. By giving your full attention to what you are reading, you enable yourself to fully indulge in the present. Focus on the story, fully immerse yourself in its narrative or argument. Enjoy the mindfulness of reading!

Combatting Mental Illness

Did you know there is actually a word for the use of reading as a form of therapy? Bibliotherapy can be used to help treat anything from mood swings to anxiety. In particular, self-help books are excellent sources of knowledge that can also provide therapeutic tools for mental health concerns. Creative bibliotherapy, including literature, stories, poetries or plays, also helps improve psychological well-being. It can accompany and guide you as you identify with a character or gain further insight into life experiences. Fiction is also a great way to re-balance through escapism; to bring order to a disordered mind through a structured narrative.

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I hope you feel inspired to invest time in an incredibly enjoyable, beneficial pastime. With endless books, blogs, and magazines there’s so much potential for newbies to ignite a passion for reading. And, for the fellow avid readers out there, to indulge in the magic of reading guilt-free. I hope you enjoyed the benefits of reading. Let me know what motivates you to read in the comments below!

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison

10 Comments

  1. Great post! 11 months into the pandemic and I’m finally picking up my first novel. And I’m loving it! Reading has helped me escape my boredom and the book I’m reading has brought me a new perspective.

  2. I’ve recently been reading a lot and woow, has it helped my mental well-being! It’s definitely great for being in the present moment and slowing down.

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