Reading a book or an in-depth article is becoming a dying art. Most of us now confine our reading to the latest social trend or the news on Facebook. The problem is that most of our reading does little to challenge our brains. Research has shown that there are many benefits to reading. If you are not reading books regularly you may be missing out on some serious benefits:
Every muscle in your body does its job better if it is used regularly. The brain is no different. Reading is like exercise for the brain. Any reading assists in keeping your brain mentally active although the more complex the subject the better an effect it will have. Research has shown that keeping your brain stimulated can help reduce the progress of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Puzzles and strategy games like chess also help to keep the brain active.
Read a book, immerse yourself in the story and forget reality for a short while. No matter how stressed you are in the real world, as soon as you disappear into this alternative reality your stress will just melt away. There will be many positive effects on your body if the stress has been relieved – even if only for a little while.
A fact-based article is full of things you probably didn’t know. Even a work of fiction, such as a novel will give you information. Much of a work of fiction is actually based in fact and the knowledge you glean will stay with you and may be useful in the future. An additional benefit is provided when you are already an expert in a field and you cannot understand someone else’s argument. Not only will you gain knowledge of their argument you will gain the mental stimulation of working out the answer.
It goes without saying that the more you read the more likely you are to pick up new words. These words will find their way into your daily conversations. Needless to say, being able to articulate well is a useful skill whatever your profession. It may well be the one thing that gets you noticed and provides the promotion that everyone else desired.
Much of the time our brains are recording information that is no use to us and is largely blanked out. When reading a novel it is important to remember the characters and the plot line. This forces the brain to remember new things. Additionally, research has shown that creating new memories actually strengthens our existing memory.
Many of us will be reading a book and have either worked out or guessed who has committed the crime before we get to the end of the book. The brain has remembered all the necessary information and you have now been able to piece it together and work out what is missing. These are analytical skills and practising them makes them stronger.
Improved focus and concentration
With the vast steps forward in technology over the last few years, and the advent of social media, it is normal for people to undertake several things at the same time. You can now talk to a friend via social media whilst working, checking emails and communicating with your colleagues. This constant multi-tasking reduces our ability to focus on any one thing for very long. It also has an adverse effect on our stress levels. Reading has the opposite effect. Being immersed in one subject, even if for just fifteen or twenty minutes can have a hugely positive effect on your attention span.
Surprisingly, reading will actually improve your writing! As you read you will subconsciously pick up the writing style, how sentences are put together and even how well it flows. These influences will manifest in your own writing and will improve the way you write.
We have already mentioned that reading reduces stress but it actually goes one stage further than that. It relaxes you and leaves you open to your inner self. Research suggests that reading spiritual books can reduce blood pressure. Self help books are good for helping those with mood disorders.
With everyone going online these days, it’s important to take a step back and realize the benefits reading a good old fashioned book can give you. Providing this time for yourself and your students is important. Do you provide silent reading time for your class? How about for yourself? Let us know in the comments how you make time for reading and maybe you can even share a great book title!
Edward Francis is a tech writer basically and he loves reading books. His favourite hobby is to read eBooks and he prefers http://www.lovereading.co.uk/ to get a variety of books at the same place.