Books are meant to be read; that’s why they are written, right? However, sometimes reading books can come off as a hassle and ”pain in the butt,” especially when we are compelled to read or read an uninteresting book.
The truth is most of us have different reasons for reading books. It could be for leisure, entertainment, getting informed, learning, passing exams, etc. So, where reading could be enjoyable for some, it can be pretty unpleasant.
Learning about the benefits of reading books can tremendously change our approach to the habit of picking up books to read.
Besides the general benefits of being informed, having a better vocabulary, and gaining better communication skills, do you know there are also mental health benefits you get when you read books?
Well, yes. There are proven connections between reading books and improved mental health.
Here are some mental health benefits of reading books:
Reading Reduces Stress
Reading books has been proven to help relax our minds by reducing stress. Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele once wrote, ”reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”. What reading does is engage our thoughts and imagination in our minds. This makes us meditate on the words we read and changes them into visions. Through this harmless activity, our mind is focused on a single thing causing relaxation and stress relief.
Reading Makes Us More Empathetic
Reading helps us become more aware of others, how they behave and what to expect from them through reading books, especially fictional texts. You will know how to communicate better and understand people around you just because you probably saw something similar in the books you’ve read. It keeps you in touch with people’s feelings and behavior. This helps you to avoid misunderstanding people.
Reading Improves Our Mental Flexibility
When our mind is challenged, it becomes excited. Strange, but true because this helps sharpen our thinking skills. Anytime you read, you unconsciously adopt the writer’s mindset and the way they see people, situations, and life. This can introduce the way you process your thoughts and imaginations, giving your mind a new perspective on visualizing the things around you. You become more flexible in reasoning out life.
Reading Prevents Age-related Decline in Mental Capacity
Involving ourselves in mental activities such as reading helps engage our minds as we age. Stimulating our minds mentally through reading books helps curb the development of the plaques, lesions, and tau-tangles found in the brains of dementia patients.
Reading Improves Your Memory Retention Capacity
The more you read, the easier it is for you to remember things. Reading tends to make our stay concentrated on the events playing out before us. Trying to process the thoughts and images that come with it helps our minds gain mastery in memory retention.
You may be asking; Okay, what kind of books should I then read to improve my mental health? Any book can be read to achieve this. It is not restricted to just educational books. So, pick any enjoyable book of your choice today and start reading. Remember, reading is a habit, and you can begin cultivating it today.