As a self diagnosed bookworm, reading is a pastime I encourage (often forcefully) amongst friends and family. Reading not only gives us the opportunity to temporarily escape reality, but also gives our brain the soothing indulgence that is imagination. Reading also can bring about a whole realm of positivity to the body physically, mentally and spiritually. Lack of motivation and time are some of the major reasons people give in response to not reading and unfortunately, busy schedules can often be held accountable for this. However, for those that do have the time, here are a few things to look forward to the next time you decide to pick up a book and crack the spine.
When it comes to reducing stress, readers at the University of Sussex claimed that taking the occasional time out to read reduced their stress levels more than when they listened to music, went on a walk or drank coffee. It was also recorded that it only took readers a short 6 minutes to reduce their stress levels. The type of book you choose to read also plays a part here as choosing to read spiritual texts can reduce blood pressure and encourage the reader to enter into a state of calmness and tranquility, while reading self help books has been said to ease mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Can improve sleep habits.
If you’re someone who struggles to fall and stay asleep, a small period of light, nighttime reading may be your answer. Sleep experts have said that establishing a daily night routine can help insomniacs fall asleep as their brain adjusts to habits and will understand when it is time to fall asleep. Here, reading is said to be a recommended aspect of a night routine as reading under a dim light will signal the brain to gradually shut down for sleep, meaning the bright lights that emit from electronic devices such as your laptop or phone signal your brain to wake up. While you incorporate reading into your schedule, also designate a time to switch off from technology.
Our brains are a wonder that scientists are still attempting to understand, however, what we do know is, whenever we decide to pick up a book, our brains are then asked to work hard to remember characters, plots and fictional conversations. While this may seem like a lot for our brains to take on, every new memory or thought we create while reading creates a new synapses (brain pathway) to strengthen existing ones. This all can assist in our short term memory as well as help to stabilise our moods.
Increase fitness and health levels.
Books and the gym; two words I never thought would come together. According to researchers at Auburn University, those who spend their time reading, tend to work out more than people who indulge in other activities or hobbies. Plus, bringing a book along with you to the gym may improve your fitness levels as novels with a gripping plot can distract your brain from the workout, thus, keeping you on the machine for longer. Your body could be burning hundreds of calories and you wouldn’t even know!
Improves focus and concentration.
Living in a world where we’re asked to keep up with everything, multitasking is often the only way to survive. However, did you know that aggressively multitasking encourages ADD-like behaviour and can increase stress levels? If you have the chance before work, by simply taking 15-20 minutes to read on the train, or any other public transport you may use, you’ll improve your levels of concentration as reading softly forces you to neglect the outside world while directing your full attention to the words on the page.
You’ll become a more confident speaker.
This may come as a given but, the more you read, the more words you’re exposed to. These new words you may find yourself exposed to will then eventually become a part of your everyday vocabulary. You’ll eventually become (what my family likes to call me) a walking thesaurus. By learning new words, you’ll find that you’ll be able to articulate yourself much better, which can help in any profession. Also, developing your ability and knowledge to become well-spoken can increase your self-esteem as you’ll be able to communicate more intelligently and effectively.