Unexpected Benefits of Reading

In a world ruled by technology, the written word has taken a backseat when it comes to the communication and sharing of stories and information. While the benefits  of technology far outweigh its drawbacks, living in a tech-savvy world has no doubt created a culture of instant gratification, and has even directly led to shorter attention spans. It’s no surprise that as a result, traditional reading has fallen to the wayside.

What if we told you that putting down the smartphone and picking up the paperback could actually make you a smarter, more creative, and happier version of you? That’s exactly what can happen when you give your brain a break from its usual bombardment of technology, and relax with a good book. Here are some of the best benefits of reading and why it’s so important.

  1. Increase your attention span. If the last piece of literature you can remember reading was a 140-character tweet, then listen up. Reading can actually improve your concentration and ability to focus, as well as sharpen your ability to comprehend what you’re reading. If you’ve ever found yourself feeling distracted or bored while reading even the smallest of magazine articles, jumping to bolded text, or skipping to the end for a summary, then you probably suffer from a shorter attention span as a result of technology. While getting just the most crucial parts out of whatever information you’re given can be a useful skill to possess, you face missing all the interesting things in between. Reading can help you power through that feeling and resist the urge to rush through the words.
  2. Reduce stress. Reading can be a great way to wind down at the end of the day and reduce any stress that may have been building. If anything, getting lost in a good book can remove you from the stresses of life, and temporarily provide an escape from the many responsibilities of life.
  3. Expand your vocabulary. Of course, we all remember those treacherous high school years that were filled with studying outlandish vocab words in hopes of acing the SAT’s, but expanding your vocabulary naturally through reading can be an even more effective way to expose yourself to new words. Encountering new words “in the wild,” so to speak, is a challenging yet more effective way to broaden your mind. Because you get to experience them in context, they are more memorable and powerful than simply memorizing the dictionary. The point is, learning new words doesn’t have to be a boring process; it can actually be extremely empowering and exciting. Incorporating new words into your speech throughout the day will not only make you sound smarter, but it will garner you more respect among your peers as well.
  4. Connect with others. Readers who consider themselves to be “loners” often describe a feeling of inclusion through sharing a favorite book with someone else. You don’t have to part of a traditional or literal book club to experience this, either. Just discussing a new book with a stranger can be a weirdly comforting feeling, and can make you feel closer to others. If anything, a good book (or an equally as memorable dreadful one) can be a great conversation starter!
  5. Encourage your imagination and be more creative. Reading has the ability to make you feel more creative, and it can even make you feel like a child again. Submerging your mind into a compelling and engaging read can feel a lot like being transported to another world. Experiencing the plot of the book and empathizing with others can be a huge source of inspiration and can make you more in tune to others’ feelings.

There are plenty of mental and health benefits to reading that can help you actually become a better version of yourself. What are your favorite things about reading?

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