In this age of smartphones and all kinds of technology, reading is a habit that has fallen by the wayside. People are reading less and less, and that’s a shame because reading brings with it so many good things.
As a certified bookworm, I’m here to tell you that there are so many benefits to the habit of reading, no matter who you are or what you like to read.
In this article, I’ll share 15 good things about the habit of reading. Hopefully, they’ll be enough to make you dive into the wonderful world of books!
Let’s get started!
1) Reading provides entertainment for unplugged moments
Looking for alternatives to social media, Netflix, and YouTube?
Why not pick up a book and see where it takes you?
The beautiful thing about reading is that you can do it totally unplugged. While technology is certainly valuable for connecting us to the outside world in so many ways, it can also bombard our brains with too much noise.
But with reading, it’s the opposite. A book can take you on a journey to new worlds and introduce you to interesting characters…
And before you know it, you’ve been lost for hours in those pages! All without the noise and negativity that comes with technology!
2) It improves vocabulary and comprehension skills
Here’s one of the most obvious benefits of reading – you’ll learn new words and get sharper comprehension.
The more you read, the more words you’ll come to know, and the better you’ll become at understanding their meanings.
Learning new words through a book or an article works better than a dictionary because you’ll read the words in context and see how it makes sense in actual use.
That way, you can also use those words correctly in your own writing and conversation.
3) It increases knowledge and awareness
Consider this: why do so many CEOs and leaders allocate a huge part of their day to reading?
(Fun fact: Warren Buffet spends five to six hours a day reading books – that’s about 500 pages a day!)
With their busy and jampacked schedules, why do they still make reading a priority?
It’s pretty simple: reading exposes you to new information and ideas that can broaden your understanding of the world.
Whether it’s a biography, a history book, or a current events article, reading will show you there’s still so much you don’t know!
That’s why it’s so lovely to talk to a well-read person; they’re brilliant at conversations because they know a lot and can talk about pretty much anything under the sun!
4) It helps you to think critically
Reading doesn’t just add to the wealth of information in your head. It also helps you to analyze all that info and develop critical thinking skills.
See, when you read constantly, you naturally learn how to look at things in a more open-minded way. You learn how to interpret, analyze, evaluate, and reflect on what you read.
For example, think about mystery books – this genre is super helpful for training us to think critically to try and solve the whodunit.
5) It enhances creativity
This is one of my absolute favorite things about reading: it shows me so many things I’ve never encountered before!
Take the Harry Potter books, for instance. Those books were just so imaginative and opened up a wonderful, magical world I would never have dreamed of.
Isn’t that amazing, to have keys to unknown worlds right in your hands?
And the best part is, they enhance your own creativity! These new ideas, perspectives, and styles of writing can inspire you to create your own stories and works of art.
6) It improves writing skills
Speaking of creating your own art, reading is especially helpful for improving your writing skills.
Aside from boosting your word bank, it also exposes you to different writing techniques and styles.
By studying the works of other writers, you can learn how to craft compelling stories, develop strong characters, and create vivid settings.
Personally, I like reading across a wide range of genres and styles – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, and so on.
I find that getting exposed to different themes and techniques really opens my eyes to the many ways I can use words to tell a story.
7) It fosters lifelong learning
Because books are a wealth of information, it makes sense that reading is a pleasurable activity.
I think of it like a lovely stroll in a garden full of interesting flowers. As you touch each flower, it opens up and reveals a fascinating, colorful glow.
With so many surprises to find in each book, it’s easy to see how reading can foster lifelong learning. It instills a love of knowledge and curiosity, which sets us up for a lifetime of exploration and growth.
8) It boosts brain power
All of the points above add up to a huge, overarching benefit – reading gives your brain a workout.
One of the worst effects of technology is that it has made us lazy. With so much info just a click or a tap away, it has become so much harder to stay focused.
Reading helps fight these negative effects. By improving memory, focus, and concentration, we can regain those abilities we’ve lost.
And you know what? These benefits are long-lasting! Research shows that regular reading actually helps keep our brains sharp as we age.
This leads me to my next point…
9) Reading may even help you live longer!
Who knew the simple act of reading books and articles could lead to a longer life?
But that’s exactly how it is. A study in the Social Science & Medicine Journal found that book readers live longer than those who don’t read books.
Apparently, it’s because reading a book involves two major processes: deep reading (which keeps the brain active) and emotional connection.
When combined, those two processes lead to increased longevity.
If that’s not enough to convince you how valuable reading is, I don’t know what will!
10) It increases empathy and understanding
That emotional connection? It’s something you’ll get in heaps when you read books with characters you relate to.
See, reading helps boost empathy because it allows you to immerse yourself in the lives and experiences of the characters in the story.
This helps you view the world from someone else’s perspective. And that’s something we should always welcome.
After all, it isn’t possible for us to experience everything and hear every single perspective from the people out there. Books are the closest we can get to that.
So, soak up every word and share in the characters’ joys and sorrows. I’m sure you’ll come away feeling so affected and engaged.
And if you’re anything like me, once you’re done with a book you really enjoyed, you’ll find it difficult to detach and get back to reality! You’ll carry these characters with you wherever you go!
11) It develops patience
Again, I must point out the damaging effect technology has done on our capacity to wait and focus.
Instant gratification is now a norm. However, while it’s certainly convenient to have all the answers you need right away, the downside is that we’ve become impatient.
On the other hand, reading develops patience. It often takes time and effort to go through a longer text, like a novel or a non-fiction book.
You won’t get to the ending quickly – you’ll need to let the story unfold, page after page after page.
So, in this sense, it helps cultivate delayed gratification, a key component of patience.
But when you finally reach the ending, boy, it really feels so rewarding!
12) It reduces stress
Another perk of reading is that it’s effective in reducing stress.
One of my favorite ways to unwind at the end of a long day is to curl up in my cozy reading chair with a book in my lap and a cup of tea by the table.
And let me tell you – it’s one of the most exquisite feelings in the world. You’ll actually feel the stress melting away.
Think I’m exaggerating? Check out this 2009 study that says reading has been shown to lower stress levels by a whopping 68%. In fact, it works even better and faster than going for a walk or listening to music!
Now let me take that a step further and show you its other benefits for mental health…
13) It alleviates depression
Yes, reading is indeed a perfect stress reliever. But did you know that it can actually help ease the symptoms of depression?
People with depression and anxiety struggle with feeling isolated. Books can provide a feeling of social engagement and emotional connection.
You see, when you relate to a character in a story, it makes you feel less alone. It makes you say, “Hey, I’m not the only one after all!”
Even if the character isn’t real, the feelings are, and that’s what matters. And for someone struggling with deep feelings of loneliness and isolation, that comforting connection can be super powerful.
14) It improves sleep
Here’s another fun fact: Barack Obama reserves half an hour for reading before he goes to bed.
Is there some merit to this habit? Absolutely.
Doctors all over the world recommend reading before bedtime.
There are two main reasons for that:
First, it’s a way to practice good sleep hygiene because, remember, reading reduces stress. And to have a good night’s rest, your mind and body need to relax.
And second, reading is the best alternative to browsing on your phone till you fall asleep.
You see, the blue light from our devices messes with our body’s ability to get ready for sleep. It blocks a hormone called melatonin, which is responsible for making us sleepy.
Simply put, when you’ve got your phone shining at your face, you’ll feel less drowsy, and it will take you longer to fall asleep.
15) It could help you find your passion
Finally, here’s an unexpected benefit reading can give you – it can serve as a compass that points you in the right direction.
Think about it: when you’re a voracious reader, you learn about so many topics, right? And as you read more and more, you might find yourself becoming more interested in a certain niche.
Well, pay attention to that. That could be a sign pointing you to where your passion lies!
I’ll give you an example. My best friend is a bookworm, just like me. One day, she read a historical fiction book, and it sparked a fire in her. She began delving deeper into historical fiction and later branched out into more serious history books.
Today, she’s an honest-to-goodness history professor! All because she read that one historical fiction book!
Reading might not be as popular as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer valuable.
It’s a hobby packed with so many benefits for anyone, no matter their age, background, or interests.
From its cognitive benefits to its impact on physical and emotional health, books can really leave you feeling smart, warm, and happy.
So why not pick up a book today and start reaping the rewards? Happy reading!