When was the last time you read a book? Or, for you non-book readers out there, read any kind of publication at all? Chances are, you’ve been reading since the day you learned to read – and even now you’re reading this! You may even frequent Facebook – catching up on your friends’ Facebook posts, or read news articles and press releases, food labels, magazines, etc. Reading has become a necessary form of communication and a habit many of us share, and justly so! Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body and so there are countless benefits we receive the more we read.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
- Stimulates the mind – Studies have shown that if you are constantly stimulating your mind, you slow the progress of mental diseases can even prevent them. Keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing its power by sharpening its logical ability. The brain, though an organ, operates very much like a muscle – you have to exercise it to keep it healthy and strong.
- Acquire knowledge – Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are and the more able you become to tackle challenges. Even if you ever were to lose everything you physically possess, your brain has an unlimited capacity for storing and using knowledge you’ve acquired all your life. Use it!
- Expands your vocabulary – The more you read, the more words you are exposed to. These words will inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary and being articulate and well-spoken is bonus point in many professions. Knowing that you communicate to your employers and your peer with confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem and can aid you as you advance the career ladder. Studies have shown that those who are well-read, well-spoken and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly and more often than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs and global events.
- Sharpens writing skills – This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a positive effect on one’s own writing. Observing the various styles of other authors, journalists, poets and writers will eventually be reflected in your own writing style. This is the same way for many artists – as musicians influence one another and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose, poetry and news by reading the works of others.
- Hones critical and analytical skills – Have you ever read an amazing mystery novel and solved the mystery yourself before finishing the book? If so, you were able to put your critical thinking skills to work by taking note of all the details provided and sorting them out to determine “whodunnit”. That same ability to analyze details comes in handy when it comes to critiquing the plot, determining whether it was a well-written piece, if the characters were properly developed, if the storyline ran smoothly, etc. Should you ever have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you’ll be able to state your opinions clearly, as you’ve taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved. Even in real life, critical thinking skills are essential. Being able to solve problems given certain elements are a part of daily life – from finishing a project for work to figuring out how to navigate difficult relationships, possessing critical thinking skills are necessary in all walks of life.
- Improves memory – When you read a book, you have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, histories, and nuances, as well as the various arcs and sub-plots that weave their way through every story. Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall.
- Boosts concentration – In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we attempt to juggle several tasks at once. Studies have shown that in a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people (via online chat and/or in person), keeping an eye on social media and monitoring their smartphone. This type of behavior in which we are constantly distracted causes stress levels to rise and lowers our productivity. While reading a book, however, all of your attention is focused on the story—causing the rest of the world to fall away as you immerse yourself in every fine detail seen from the point of view of another. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.
- A fun source of entertainment – There’s a reading genre for every literate person on the planet, and whether your tastes lie in classical literature, poetry, fashion magazines, biographies, religious texts, young adult books, self-help guides, street lit or romance novels, there’s something out there to capture your curiosity and imagination. Whether you choose to nourish your inner escapist or feed your brain with new knowledge, step away from the computer for a little while, crack open a book and feel free to replenish your soul for a little while.
- Feeds your imagination – The story of a book will absorb your mind so let your imagination fly. While you are reading, you are building images, faces, places, colors, settings and stimulating your creative juices. You connect all these creations and making changes while you keep reading as your worldview expands. Allowing your mind to explore a new literary world opens the door of new ideas, subjects and situations that can get you thinking on trying new experiences.
- Reduces stress – No matter how much stress you are going through at work, in your personal life or anywhere else, reading a good story can help you take your mind off these difficult situations. A nice novel can help distract you, while an interesting article can slip your mind out of your problems of that present moment. All allow you to relax and release any tension, especially if you’re reading a subject you are personally interested in.
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If you enjoy the mental benefits of reading, read our Top 10 Health Benefits of Playing Chess