5 Important reasons reading is good for us

It's called readingThere’s a saying: ‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body’. If we take into account the enormous benefits of exercise, this phrase really starts to come alive.

Everything we read affects us in some way, whether we love or hate a story, think an article is useful or a bunch of nonsense, it still affects us. The benefits of reading have been discussed and dissected for ions, and there are literally hundreds of reasons to read more. I decided to choose five important reasons I believe reading is good for us.

1. Reading stimulates our imagination

The man with the big brain, Albert Einsteinsaid: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview for life’s coming attractions.”

Using our imagination lifts us out of the every day, the current problem, the reality of life. When we stimulate our imagination through reading, we open our minds to other ways in which problems can be solved and challenges can be overcome.  Furthermore, it is within our imagination that innovation is born. Electricity, flying, the internet – all these life changing ideas were first imagined before they became reality and changed the world. In short, reading inspires our imagination to dream up new realities.

2. By reading we gain knowledge

Books contain knowledge. Not all of us can travel to Alaska and experience a scientific exploration expedition, but most of us can read about it. Through books we can learn about things that happened long before we were born, sometimes reading the words written by people who were there in the flesh. We can learn how to cook a complicated dish, we can increase our photographic skills by following advise from experts – the possibilities are endless. Reading expands knowledge. The more we read, the more we know.

3. Reading relieves stress

The prose of a good writer sings within our souls like nothing else can. For a few hours we are able to escape from the challenges of life and lose ourselves in a good book or article. Research conducted by the University of Sussex has found that reading reduces stress faster than listening to music, going for a walk, or having a good cup of tea. Psychologist believes this is due to the fact that concentrating when reading and being transported into a literary world eases the tensions in the muscles and heart. As stress is well-known as one of the causes for a myriad of ailments such as insomnia, depression, obesity, and headaches, reading is a pleasurable way to help us steer clear of these.

4. Reading stimulates the brain

Have you ever read a recipe book and started salivating, or craved for a coffee because one of the characters in a book was having one? There is good reason for this. A study completed by Emory University tracked short and long-term changes in the brain during and after reading. The results were astonishing. It was already well-known that our brains are stimulated while we read, the study however revealed readers experience “embodied semantics” after reading. This basically means that thinking about an activity, for example jogging, can trigger some of the same neural connections as when we physically jog. That is nothing short of amazing.

5. Reading expands your vocabulary

This one needs very little explanation. The more we read, the more words we learn. The more words we know the better we are able to express ourselves, both verbally and in written text. The better we are able to express ourselves the better we become at speaking and writing. You will be hard pressed to find a successful Public Speaker or Author who does not read.

The importance of reading can not be overestimated. There are few activities in life that can boast the overall effect reading has on individuals and societies. And, another wonderful thing about reading is, it’s never too late or too early to start. Most parents seem to instinctively know this, reading to their children from early on in their lives. But, even if you were not fortunate enough to have parents who’ve taught you the special value of reading, it’s never too late to start.

Much love XXX

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