Long-time readers probably know that reading can be a mental boost. Did you know that reading can strengthen the muscles of your brain? Whether it’s for recreation, school, or work, we read all the time. Every book you read is actually helping your brain. It doesn’t matter if it’s a scholarly literary novel, or a romantic tale about a vampire, you’re boosting your mental health with each book. It may be surprising to think that the novel that bashes your soul can actually be helping you, but yes, even the books that make you cry at work. There are eight ways studies have found that reading gives you a mental boost.

 

1. Reading Can Help You Relax

Everyone gets stressed, but constant stress can be very bad and strenuous. A study conducted at the University of Essex showed that reading lowers stress by 68%, beating music, and drinking tea or coffee. Reading to yourself for about six minutes can lower your heart rate and ease the tension of your muscle.

“It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination,” says Dr. David Lewis, a cognitive neuropsychologist and part of the Essex study. 

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

2. Reading Makes You More Empathetic

The University of Buffalo found that the books we read allow us a better understanding of other people, and the world. Being able to relate to a variety of characters allows us to not only understand, but sympathize and empathize with diverse types of people. Empathy is considered one of the most important skills for children to learn.

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

3. Reading Can Be A Form Of Therapy

Relating to a character may help you understand how to deal with the problems or conflicts in your life. Bibliotherapy is an approach that uses literature to boost mental health. Mild to moderate symptoms of mood related conditions can be successfully treated.

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

4. Reading Can Increase Intelligence

Reading books introduces you to a wide variety of new works, and an increase in vocabulary has been linked to higher test scores. In addition to an increased vocabulary, reading improves your communication skills and your analytical skills.

timeless_books
Source: Wikimedia Commons

5. Reading Improves Your Memory

As you read, your brain takes the time to focus, follow along a string of words for hours, and allows you to remember details. Parts of your brain that work for vision, language, and associative learning (the occipital lobe, the Broca’s area, and the cerebrum) connect when you read.

Source: Pixabay
Source: Pixabay

6. Reading Makes Your Brain Stronger

People who stay active readers have a 32% lower rate of mental decline, compared to those who don’t read (who have a 48% faster decline). So, keep up those booklover skills!

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Reading Can Reduce The Chance Of Alzheimer’s Disease

By reading, you can develop new pathways in your brain which keeps the chance of Alzheimer’s low. You don’t have to just read books, even magazines can help give your brain mental challenges to decipher. According to theory, by reading and writing, you are building more brain cells, which means even in our 70s and above we can take measures to help prevent Alzhemier’s.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

8. Reading Helps You Sleep Better

Reading from a paperback or hardback book (not a screen) can improve your sleep. A bright screen keeps your brain more awake and will not help you unwind and relax when it’s bedtime. So, for the sake of your sleeping habits, try to resist the ebooks when you’re feeling sleepy. (I know, it’s hard!).

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Grab your favorite book and give yourself a mental boost!

YouTube Channel: BrainCraft

 

Featured image via Pixabay

h/t Bustle