Reasons You Should Read Regularly, Part 1

If you’ve found that you spend more time reading Tweets or Facebook posts and less time reading anything of substance, you could be missing out on some serious benefits! Besides being simply enjoyable, reading quality material offers a number of positively correlated benefits that can help you psychologically and physiologically, so everything you read is improving you as a person. Here are ten benefits of reading:

It gets the grey matter going
The old saying, “use it or lose it” couldn’t be more applicable here. Not only can reading stimulate your brain to make you smarter, but it has also been shown to help slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Cognitive stimulation is easily achieved through reading, but you can also gain brain-stimulating benefits from puzzles, games and other activities that require problem solving.

It makes you perpetually smarter
Every single thing you read ends up being stored in your brain as new information, even if you feel like you’ve forgotten it. Obviously, the more knowledge that’s stored, the smarter you’ll be, so keep reading! Don’t forget too – you’ll always have your knowledge, so even when you get old and lose your looks or you don’t end up making the millions you thought you would when you were younger, you will still have your intelligence for perpetuity.

It reduces stress
Stress is exacerbated when you continuously think about whatever it is that is causing you to be stressed in the first place. So, what better way to de-stress than distracting yourself completely from your worries. Reading a book that you’re engaged in can literally make you forget all your problems and in turn, reduces your stress. Think about the last good book you read and how it transported your mind to another place or world – yep, if you aren’t mentally present in your current circumstances, you won’t be dealing with the stress from the here and now!

It improves your memory
When you read, you’re not just storing the information for later use, but you’re often using your active memory to figure out the relationships between characters, how circumstances fit into the narrative and how plots have created the part of the story you’re currently reading. Regularly using your active memory strengthens your overall short and long-term memory by joining new brain pathways (synapses) together and reinforcing existing ones. This has the added benefit of stabilising mood, so it’s a win-win!

It causes you to be more articulate
When I was a young child (under 10 years old and who read continuously), I thought that the word ‘façade’ was pronounced ‘fah-card’ and the word ‘melancholy’ was pronounced with a soft ‘ch’ (like cheese) – hilarious, right? The thing is though, despite these pronunciation foibles, I knew exactly what both words meant, which is more than I can say for the majority of my friends at the same age. I now have a broad and eloquent vocabulary that allows me to read almost anything with full understanding. This is because, the more often you read, the more often you’re exposed to unfamiliar words, which are easier to decipher when seen in context.
The bonus of possessing a wide vocabulary really starts hitting home when you need to write an essay or need to prove your worth in a job interview. In fact, studies have shown that those with a wide vocabulary win jobs and promotions more often, are more successful in their studies and are more socially adept (unless you’re a show-off, that is). By reading more, you’ll also be able to learn foreign languages quicker too!

Next week check out our article entitled ‘Reasons You Should Read Regularly, Part 2’ for five more excuses to relax with a good book.

The CFS Team
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