In this modern age of awesome television, video games, and endless social media, it can be hard to choose reading as your entertainment of choice. Sometimes TV can be mindless, and an easy way to unwind at the end of the day. But, the benefits of reading on your health are vast—and worth missing an hour of the Internet at night. Shown to decrease risk of dementia and reduce stress, reading is an activity you shouldn’t be missing out on. Here are some of the top reasons to start reading now:
Benefits of Reading #1: Reading is an awesome workout for your brain
Reading is like a great work out for your brain. It increases connections and makes your brain smarter and more efficient. It connects vision, language, and learning which challenges the brain creating a “work out”. It has also been shown to slow the process of Alzheimer’s and dementia. There is evidence that people who often read and engage their mind have a 32% lower rate of mental decline.
Benefits of Reading #2: It is one of the best ways to reduce stress
Researchers are continually finding evidence that shows activities such as reading lower stress more than watching TV. Reading lowers cortisol levels and allows you to find yourself in a new world.
Benefits of Reading #3: Improves empathy
Throwing yourself into the life of different kinds of characters and stories has been proven to make you a more empathetic person. You will be able to understand the viewpoints of others—and more easily develop healthy relationships and connect with those around you. Good relationships will make you happier, which ultimately makes you healthier!
Benefits of Reading #4: Help you sleep better
Researchers are continually finding evidence that looking at screens or bright lights before bed disrupts sleep. Reading is a great way to prepare your body for sleep, and to relax you before bed. Reading is a great way to calm you down at night, and as long as the book isn’t a page-turner, it can be a nice way to relax into sleep.
Benefits of Reading #5: Reading can ease depression
Recently, a term called “bibliotherapy” has been thrown around that hypothesizes the ability of books to ease depression. When someone reads a novel or non-fiction with a narrator who they can relate to—it helps to ease depression. A self-help book can make someone not feel alone, and feel like someone else understands. So if you’re feeling down or blue, try reading—it just might make you feel better.
Don’t know where to start?
Recently the New York Times released what they believe to be the best books of 2014. Check some of these out if you’re looking for healthy way to stimulate your brain!
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Dept. Of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Euphoria by Lily King
Family Life by Akhil Sharma
Redeployment by Phil Klay
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast
On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss
Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life by Hermione Lee
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David by Lawrence Wright