First of all, reading is fun. With the large variety of genres, there’s something for everyone. Fancy some action? A drama in which you can find characters to identify with, because you feel sad and lonely? Something more down-to-earth, like a reportage about a country or a historical period you’re interested in? Just find the right shelf at the library.
2. A workout for you brain
Your body needs movement. That means your brain needs movement, too. And I don’t mean it needs to be moved from your house to your workplace every morning, together with the rest of your body. Moving your head in space is not enough. All that is inside of it needs to be shaken a bit too. It has been proven that reading has a great effect on our brains. It’s demanding in the neurological way, requires concentration and intellectual activity. Mental stimulation can slow down the progress of Dementia and Alzheimer, as many studies have shown, starting with the one made by Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) in 2006. Reading is healthy, just like orange juice or a morning run, so try to find time for it.
3. Unforgettable moments
I am not only talking about the moments spent with a book. As you read, you memorize many things. You try to store in your mind all the facts you find while reading. You follow the plots, get to know the characters, remember the details. All of that is a great exercise for your memory. Memory is not like a plastic bag. It’s not limited and won’t overflow once you put enough things inside of it. The more stuff you place there, the bigger it becomes. When you add a new memory to your collection, new synapses are being created and the old ones get stronger. It has a positive affect on short-memory recall.
4. Shaping personality
Personality is not something you are born and blessed or cursed with forever, till the end of your days. Yes, there are tendencies hard to get rid of, patterns being repeated, mistakes we just can’t help but making all over again. But can’t we, really?
Through working on ourselves, we can change things. One of the methods is reading. According to studies made by researchers from University of Toronto, reading can change some personality traits. Romance novels, for example, are likely to promote empathy. Not only romance novels though. Reading any artistic literature can make people more empathetic and understandanding, because the process itself is like a conversation, getting to know a person. It also encourages readers to examine their own emotions and behaviors and makes them more open to new experiences.
5. Effect on relationships
Through reading we get to know countless characters. We get inside of their lives, follow their stories, see the places they have seen, experience what they have exparienced. Articles on people from faraway countries makes you more tolerant towards other cultures, psychological novels- more understanding in the contacts with people from your enivornment. A reader won’t judge another person easily. A reader knows there’s always more to people than what the first page shows.
If used well, reading can also help you in developing your expressiveness. By accompanying characters in their lives, you get familiar with their feelings and emotions and see it’s not such a shame to have them. That makes it easier to speak freely.
Moreover, hobbies get people together. Books or magazines you read equip you with subjects to discuss when meeting people. Visiting book clubs and libraries, joining online communities, even reading on trams or buses gives you a chance to make new friends and share this interest with them.
Reading is learning. Whatever you read, whether it’s a melodramatic harlequin or a series of scientific articles, you always obtain new infromation. One day it can turn out to be fruitful. Besidies, being well-read, working on your knowldge and intellectual capacities also makes you more self-confident…and totally badass.
7. Analytical skills
Analyzing the story, making an effort to understand the behavior of characters, trying to solve puzzles and uncover mysteries – all of that engages and develops your critical and analytical thinking.
We spend our days doing so many things at the same time. Laptop in front of your eyes with an adorable cat jumping all around the screen, messages from friends popping out from different places – emails, chats, Skype, perhaps a phone too, a coworker speaking on the other side of the room, all the papers on your desk glancing at you and reminding they need to be filled in… Reading requires concentration. You do one thing only. Many people, even if they want to, can’t concentrate anymore. Reading is a great way to work on your ability to concentrate, which increases productivity.
9. Relaxation technique
Have you ever felt so tense to the point you dreamt of escaping your life for a while? Surprise: you actually can. You don’t even need a one-way ticket to the other side of the globe. A gripping novel can take you all the way to another dimension. A good article might focus all your attention and allow you to forget your troubles for a moment. Many people overthink their problems, while what they need is a break, so that they could go back to searching for a solution with a clear, relaxed mind.
Fictional characters can be a source of inspiration just like people met in the real life. You can learn from them, get influenced by their words and actions. Same with places, events and facts described in what you read. Let’s say you come across a book on Japanese culture or a novel with a main character who is a carpenter. Next day you might find yourself studying Japanese or making wooden chairs for your kitchen.