Despite the world now being saturated in electronic devices, 24-hour news cycles and bite-sized information, reading printed books remains a popular pastime for many people. In fact, the sale of books has seen a steady increase year on year for the last half decade – a trend set to continue as we seek little snippets of solace from an increasingly busy lifestyle.
Aside from never running out of battery, being able to survive an accidental drop in the bath or the menace of sand from a trip to the beach, there are also many benefits to our health and wellbeing that can come from curling up with a good page-turner or even a magazine. Here are just a few.
It Reduces Stress
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to bring the mind and body into the present moment, and immersing into an engrossing story can help us do just that. Escapism may not solve our problems, but reading gives us some valuable respite from worries of life by keeping the mind occupied and the body still.
It Improves Memory
Reading a story of any length or depth requires us to remember an array of characters and plots and all the nuances that weave in and out. Every time a new memory is created, more synapses are forged in the brain pathways. This in turn can strengthen existing memories whilst improving short-term recall and even stabilising moods.
It Improves Focus and Concentration
In today’s world our attention is continually pulled in multiple directions and there have been many studies to suggest the negative impact this has had on our ability to focus on a single task for any length of time. Reading books and lengthy articles encourages us to do just that and also gives our tired eyes a break from screens. As with any new habit, the more we do it the easier it becomes.
It Broadens Our Knowledge
From the trashiest novel to the most intellectually high-brow publication, every book gives us new insights and nuggets of information we might never have accessed otherwise. The brain has an astonishing capacity for absorbing information and reading is a wonderful way to learn new things and expanding the mind.
It Stimulates the Mind
Generally speaking a stimulated mind is a healthy mind. Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain needs regular exercise to keep it running at its optimum and this is especially important as we get older. Anything that gets the grey matter working without causing stress will help to prevent it from losing power. This even includes slowing down the progress of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.