3 Ways Reading Will Make You a Better Person
We’ve been preached to about the importance of reading for most of our lives. Rightfully so, because a swift reader who can effectively comprehend written material will have a significant advantage over those who cannot. However, most of us simply lose time and interest as we age. Sure, we read on our phones and skim articles throughout the day, but how many of us actually take the effort to carve out time dedicated to reading?
With women reading slightly more than men, the average American reads only about 17 min/day. Reading seems to be one of those “love it or hate it” things, but this post is here to show you why loving to read (or just putting in the effort to read a bit more regularly) can bring huge benefits.
A healthy mind is a healthy body
Reading, by distracting your brain from the stressors of life, effectively lowers stress levels. The University of Sussex found that reading for just six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by as much as 68%! Reading may also lower stress by increasing your ability to deal with uncertainty. Researchers from the University of Toronto found that readers—especially fiction readers— were better able to think creatively and not get stuck on one specific idea or line of thought. Why is reducing stress so important? Because stress is a factor in five out of the six leading causes of death — heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, and accidents.
Reading is an exercise in empathy
An empathic person can effectively connect with and understand the experiences of others. While non-fiction directly exposes you to the beliefs & experiences of others, fiction focuses more on the psychology of characters and their relationships. We’re encouraged to fill in the gaps and imagine characters’ intentions and motivations while building a dialogue in our heads. Often times, characters disrupt our initial expectations and assumptions, which helps develop strong social & cultural awareness.
Improve your focus & concentration skills
While it might seem like you’re really good a multi-tasking (and maybe you are) focusing on too many things at once has been proven to reduce productivity. On the other hand, focusing on something like reading for an extended period of time helps build concentration stamina that carries over to many other areas of life.
Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his needs, is good for him.
~ Maya Angelou ~
So go read something. Anything! Yes, a book is probably best, but journalism or research articles can work too. If you already read a lot, then keep it up and share below if reading has helped you develop empathy, boost concentration, or lower stress levels.