We can now swipe through endless pages and pages on our tablets and phones. We have access to archives of online articles and news. And while it’s allowing us to read more than ever, there is still a difference between reading and reading books.
According the The Telegraph, while reading is on the rise, quality of reading is on the decline. Reading your Facebook timeline isn’t the same as reading Tolstoy. It’s a shame — reading a good book is not only fun… it’s nothing short of life-changing. Let me explain.
Reading expands your vocabulary
When staff at Rhode Island Hospital compared the “receptive” vocabulary (the number of words that they could understand) of two groups of eight months old, they found a 40% increase in the group that had been read to as babies. Those who had not been read to only saw a 16% rise. The same vocabulary increase can be seen in adults who read.
Reading a novel increases brain function for days
Research carried out by Emory University has found that reading a book can increase connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that act like muscle memory and stick around for days. Novels not only put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense, but also in a biological sense. That’s immersion at it’s best.
Reading can prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Increased brain function is also useful for other things–various studies have shown that adults who engage in hobbies that stimulate the brain, such as reading, are less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease. The brain is an organ — just as exercise strengthens the heart, reading strengthens the brain.
Reading reduces stress
Do you take a walk or listen to music to chill out? The University of Sussex thinks that you should consider reading instead. Reading was the most effective way that participants were able to defeat stress, doing so in only six minutes.
Reading can help you sleep better
Reading a book is one of the most effective ways to calm your mind and help you sleep. The bright lights of electronics have been found to signal to the brain that it’s time to wake up. Reading a book under a dim light has the opposite effect – putting your brain to sleep.
Reading makes you more empathetic
If you read, then you’ll likely be more empathetic to the struggles of others. A study showed that losing yourself in a work of fiction can increase empathy and the ability to emotionally transport you into the position of another person. The emotional intelligence easily translates to your real world non-fiction relationships.
Self-help books have been proven to ease depression
For those looking for a brighter side during a dark time, self-help books are not all the scheming or exploitative works that they’re made out to be. They’re actually scientifically proven to help combat depression at all stages. After a year of reading books, the participants in one study were less depressed than those who received typical treatments.
Reading makes you more attractive
A study recently confirmed the belief that being (or appearing) smart makes you more attractive to others. In fact, it’s one of the sexiest traits in the eyes of a woman. While holding a book may make you look smarter, you should actually read to get the other benefits of this list.
Reading can encourage life goals
As well as helping you meet the love of your life, reading about someone who has overcome obstacles in life can encourage you to follow suit. Ohio State University found that the more you identify with a character, the more likely you’ll be to also take action in life.
People who read are more cultured and more accepting
A study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that those who read are more likely to engage with culture. If you read, you’re also more likely to accept and participate in different cultures. Who doesn’t want to be more interesting?
Reading is just as therapeutic as music or movies
If you’re going through a difficult time, reading is the perfect way to relive past experiences and gain new perspective. The American University believes that characters who are having similar issues to the reader can offer insight into peoples’ lives. You and your favorite characters can ultimately work through life together.
Regular readers have better memory and are smarter
Whenever you read a book, you create a new memory, and you exercise your brain. Whenever your brain is exercised, the organ creates new synapses which help keep your memory sharp, allowing for more information to be retained. That means that after getting through the Game of Thrones books, you’ll probably have the memory of seven elephants.
Reading can make you a better writer
If you read, then you’re inadvertently a thief, but it’s not your fault. The University of California discovered that when you read an amazing book, the writing skills of the author inadvertently rub off onto you. Just as listening to music can affect a musician’s style, reading a book can affect your writing style.
Reading will make you exercise harder
Reading nuts are more likely to exercise than those who don’t read on a regular basis. They spend far more time in the gym than the library and when they do exercise, they do so for longer.
Readers are more likely to improve the world they live in
As well as improving your own life, being a reader can improve the lives of others. Active readers are three times as likely to do charity work and volunteer than those who don’t read on a regular basis. Reading offers a way to learn about those who are worse off than us, and it encourages us to lend a hand.
So what’s on your to-read list, blog?
All pictures in this story are from Bookshelf Porn.