Let’s face it, reading books nowadays is an activity that most people take for granted. With the internet being available to us all and the overabundance of TV shows to choose from, reading an actual book has become a thing of the past. It’s sad I know. It pains me to see young children glued to their tablets and smartphones, rather than to a book. It pains me to witness how indifferent our new generations are when it comes to acknowledging the importance of the written word.
Reading books is not only a hobby. Reading books is like acquiring a new set of eyes. It opens a new world in front of us and gives us the opportunity to experience something entirely different than what we’ve previously seen or felt. It is the key to becoming, learning, growing, transforming. Reading books is entering an entirely different realm. Leaving the reality that you are familiar with to step into the unknown.
It opens your eyes, develops your thoughts, gives you endless knowledge, keeps your mind active, raises your self-esteem and it changes you to the very core of your being.
Reading books is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Here are 4 ways that prove that:
1. Reading is like a workout for your brain. It’s what makes us mentally flexible. Reading poetry or other kinds of texts has been proven to show fascinating changes in brain activity. According to Ken Pugh, director of research at the Yale-affiliated Haskins Laboratories, which studies the impact of spoken and written language, reading books is an activity that not only activates all major parts of our brains but also helps us strengthen our skills in language, boost our vocabulary, increase our imagination and creativity and improve both our focus and attention.
2. It helps you develop communication skills. As you read, you become more comfortable with the language that you are reading. And as time passes, you will notice how your vocabulary is refreshed, your ability to form sentences enhances and your communication skills improved. One study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics found that in those five years before kindergarten, kids who live in book-loving families learn and hear 1.4 million more words compared to children who live in households where their caregivers don’t read to them.
3. It makes you more empathetic. This goes to all the bookworms and nerds out there. You know who you are. One study discovered that literary fiction can actually increase our ability to feel empathy for others. According to Keith Oatley, professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, “A piece of fiction … [is] a piece of consciousness being passed from mind to mind. When you’re reading, you’re taking in a piece of consciousness that you make your own.
4. Reading books improves rationality and creativity. Reading opens new horizons and lets your imagination run wild. There are only words in front of you and the freedom to transform those words into any reality that you’d like. And out of all the benefits of reading, creativity is perhaps one of the most rewarding and motivating benefits. This has also been proven to be true. A 2013 study, by Keith Oatley, has found that the more people dive into the world of fiction, the less they feel the need for closure, or in other words, the more open they become to ambiguity. One of the study’s authors, Professor Maja Djikic, a psychologist specializing in the field of personality development at the University of Toronto, said, “These findings suggest that reading fictional literature could lead to better procedures for processing information generally, including those of creativity. When you can entertain multiple perspectives, it is easier to see new possibilities”.
So, there you have it. Reading books is truly a breath of fresh air. A therapy that sometimes you don’t know you need until you feel it.
I guess it’s true what they say. It’s when we lose ourselves that we actually find the real versions of ourselves.