Studies show that the older we get the less we read for pleasure. It could be that we start losing the love for reading when we start spending more time on our studies. Simply, reading then becomes a chore associated with studying and we forget the joys of reading just for the heck of reading. So here are a few reminders as to why you should reconnect with books and read for pleasure. Your overall wellbeing can greatly benefit from spending a few hours a week with a book and here are 4 scientifically backed reasons why!
Getting lost in a good read can make it easier for you to relate to others and learn to empathise. Fiction has the power to help its readers understand what others are thinking in real life by reading other people’s emotions, according to research published in Science. The impact is much more significant on those who read fiction as opposed to those who read nonfiction. “Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies,” i.e. your emotional intelligence goes up, and you become overall a better human for it.
2. Reading before bed can help you get Zzzzz’s
We are HUGE fans of sleep! And creating a bedtime ritual, like reading before bed, helps signal to your body that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep, according to the Mayo Clinic. Reading a real book helps you relax more than just zoning out in front of a screen before bed. Screens like e-readers and tablets can actually keep you awake longer and even hurt your sleep. That’s another excuse to start hoarding books… yey!
In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day. In a single 5-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people, keeping an eye on instagram, monitoring your whatsapps, and interacting with your friends. This type of ADD-like behaviour causes stress levels to rise, and lowers our productivity.
Research at the University of Sussex shows that reading is the most effective way to overcome stress, beating out other methods like listening to music or taking a walk. Within 6 minutes of silent reading, participants’ heart rates slowed and tension in their muscles eased up to 68%. Psychologists believe reading works so well because the mind’s concentration creates a distraction that eases the body’s stress.
When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before studying or going to a class, and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the class.