The next time you feel guilty about letting yourself spend a few minutes every day to read a book — don’t be. Even as society frowns upon idleness, reading offers us such a wealth of health benefits that it should never be regarded as inactivity. Just look at some of the most successful figures in the world. A great many of them are vocal advocates of the importance of reading, including those who grew in eminence from rags to riches. Reading is considered so beneficial to our health and well-being that experts believe that even a few minutes of it every day can make a difference. What, then, makes reading this important? What are some of these benefits?
Enhances Your Focus And Concentration
Reading has been shown to help us improve our focus and concentration — valuable skills to have, particularly in today’s age of the internet. The latter may be one of our greatest inventions since sliced bread, but it comes with a heavy price: it takes away what should be the very simple ability to focus. What were you doing just a second before clicking on this article? How many tabs do you have open on your internet browser? Odds are, you were also checking your email inbox and social media only a few minutes ago. It may be easy to assume that this sort of multitasking takes our productivity to greater heights, but studies have shown that most of us complete tasks much more slowly when we divide our attention span to this extent.
Try bringing along a book on your morning commute to work, if you do take public transport, and spend at least fifteen minutes on it. You may be surprised to learn how effective it can be at helping you relearn how to focus on one task for a longer period of time, increasing your concentration and productivity at the office. Greater productivity at the office, in turn, helps manage work-related stress levels, which also translates to an improvement in health.
Allows Our Brain Respite From An Overload Of Information
Yet another side effect of the internet is its tendency to spike stress levels as it continuously bombards us with information — reading can be particularly powerful in countering this. One can never underestimate how damaging stress can be to our quality of life. When left unchecked for prolonged periods of time, stress can have an adverse effect on multiple aspects of our health. Experts have even found that stress can negatively impact skin health. If you find that neither your painstakingly thorough skin care routine nor your diet seems to work, pause and reflect on your stress levels and exposure to information via the internet. Works of fiction may offer us a break from this constant bombardment of information as our brain only has to process one source of information, that is, the alternative world built by the author.
Reading May Be Able To Counter Depression
Some experts believe that self-help books could prevent the incidence of depression altogether. These books tend to inspire in its readers renewed belief in the possibility of change, thus potentially undoing the sense of hopelessness that typically comes with depression. Spend some time browsing the self-help section in your nearest library and check out at least one. It’s not too late for those of you who are already burdened by depression either. Most chronic mental illnesses, including depression, may leave sufferers feeling helpless and alone, but reading has been found to offer temporary respite and even hope. Depression can feel like an endless hole we can never climb out of, but it is not unbeatable. Please never give up on yourself and seek support from a professional therapist or a trustworthy confidante.
Keeps Your Brain Young
If you find it hard to believe that focusing on one task is any better than multitasking, perhaps you may be swayed by the knowledge that reading helps sharpen your memory capability. Our brain tends to become less effective at storing memories and information as we age, thus explaining why conditions such as Alzheimer’s are so common among the elderly. Studies have shown that reading may be able to significantly delay this decline in memory recall. Maybe this is why many of the most successful people are able to stay at the top of their game for so long.
Makes You More Articulate And Boosts Self-Esteem
Books can also vastly improve your vocabulary as they expose you to a wealth of new words. The effect of this is two-fold: it keeps your brain young and manages stress levels by boosting your self-esteem. Have you ever been frustrated by your inability to express yourself at the office? You’re good at your job and yet you find that your career is going nowhere because you can’t articulate yourself as well as your colleagues. Try reading more often and take note of how these authors express themselves using certain words. Being well-read also tends to impress higher-ups since it demonstrates your constant thirst for self-improvement and knowledge.