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23 reasons why reading makes us better people

We hear all the time that reading can work wonders for our mental abilities, our mood and our feelings. So, is it true?

We here at Bright Side came across some interesting pieces of research that prove reading really is a very useful activity. Take a look and find out why picking up a book is probably the best decision you can make today.

1. Reading relieves stress.

How do you prefer to spend time if you’re stressed out? By listening to music or maybe going for a walk? Researchers from the University of Sussex assure us that you should try reading instead. Their research showed that reading was the most effective way to overcome stress compared to music, walking, drinking a cup of coffee etcetera. When reading, it took their subjects only six minutes to reduce their stress levels by more than two thirds.

2. Reading helps get rid of insomnia.

Reading has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to calm down and to prepare for a good night’s sleep. The bright lights coming from your phone and TV screens send signals to the brain that it’s time to wake up, whilst reading your favorite book under a dim light has the opposite effect — your brain realizes that it’s high time to get some rest.

3. Reading makes us more empathic people.

When you’re reading a book, especially fiction, do you feel emotionally transported into the story and somehow feel the emotional bond with the protagonists? Experiments show that people who read fiction and feel emotionally connected with the story have strong empathy in real life.

4. Reading boosts our brain function.

Scientific research conducted at Emory University proves that we actually become smarter after reading a book. At least for a couple of days after finishing a book our brain shows measurable positive changes. Scientists state that the boost in brain functionality is caused by heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory.

5. Self-help guides can help overcome depression.

According to a recent research, reading is one of the most effective ways to combat depression. Patients who were given a guided self-help book on mood and how to overcome depression after a year showed lower depression levels than those who were treated by a general practitioner using classical methods.

6. Reading makes you more attractive.

An intelligent, well-educated person is more attractive for other people. It’s obvious that a person who can keep the conversation going on any topic inevitably wins the attention and admiration of the whole group.

7. Reading encourages life goals and helps overcome difficulties.

Researchers at Ohio State University claim that the more we read, the more we identify ourselves with the protagonists, and in turn we transfer and implement their behavioral models in our lives. That means that a good read can motivate you to start searching for the love of your life and meet your goals by simply following a good example set in a book.

8. People who love reading are more socially active.

Research conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts suggests that people who love reading are motivated to more actively participate in different kinds of cultural and charity events.

9. Reading improves memory and thinking abilities.

Every time you read you train your brain. When you encounter a new set of words, you figure out its meaning and then store it in your short term memory. Experiments prove that reading slows decline in brain power. People who stimulate their brain by frequently reading have better chances to keep their mind alive, especially in later years.

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10. Reading enriches your vocabulary.

When you’re reading, you constantly come across words and words expressions we don’t use in everyday speech. Even if you happen to come across some word you’ve never seen or heard before, you don’t always look it up, do you? Because often we can get the meaning of such words from the context. Not only does the reading enrich your active vocabulary but it also increases your general knowledge and literacy.

11. Reading improves your writing skills.

When we read, we subconsciously ’imitate’ the author’s way of writing and presentation. Just as a young musician gets influenced by one particular music genre, in the same way you adopt the style of the writer whose book you’re holding in your hands.

12. Book worms have good physical health.

Researchers from Auburn University assure us that people who love reading work out more often and much more eagerly than those who prefer different past times. Book lovers spend more time in the gym and as a result stay healthier.

13. Reading helps you become more open and friendly.

The Creativity Research Journal has published an interesting piece of research that suggests that literature and fiction, in particular, open your mind to new ideas and broaden your horizons. On the whole, after reading people don’t feel the need for cognitive closure.

14. Reading can help you learn foreign languages.

Habitual readers comprehend new material much faster and with greater ease. This phenomenon can be best observed when learning a new foreign language.

15. Reading has positive effects on your listening abilities.

Believe it or not, but reading improves your listening skills, making it easier for you to understand new vocabulary and grammar. It works best if you constantly read aloud.

16. Reading develops your creativity.

After the teachers from Obafemi Awolowo University suggested including comics in the elementary school curriculum, they noticed that the colored pictures that came with simple text positively affected the artistic skills and creativity of children. Books affect adult readers in the same way.

17. Reading may prevent early development of Alzheimer’s disease.

According the research conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, people who like reading or solving crossword puzzles are less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease. The brain is an organ just like any other in the human body, and it needs to work out as well. So the best option here would be…you guessed it — reading!

18. Reading aloud to your children helps establish a special bond and improves your relationship with them.

Psychologists assure us that reading to your kids helps you connect with them by establishing a special bond. Sure, you can spend time together differently, but remember that watching TV or any other activity won’t work as well.

19. Reading can help you overcome financial difficulties.

According to literary statistics, 43% of adults with poor literacy skills live in poverty compared to only 4% of those with an advanced literacy level.

20. Reading helps children become better learners at school.

Scientists support the idea that kids who read a lot in preschool and love reading in general are better learners at school. An interesting fact: they succeed not only in grammar and reading, as one may suppose, but also in mathematics and other exact sciences.

21. Reading might have a positive impact on the rehabilitation process of criminals.

Some studies suggest that reading reduced recidivism rates among inmates who had successfully completed literacy courses while being in prison by nearly 30 per cent.

22. Reading makes you a better conversationalist.

The more stories you read, the better story teller you will become. Habitual readers know how to filter unnecessary redundant information and how to ’sell’ their stories painting them in the best light. Great conversationalists can affect whole groups of listeners and are always in the spotlight.

23. Reading encourages us to make this world a better place.

Active readers engage in volunteer and charity work three times more often than non-readers do. Thus, reading makes us better people who’re always ready to give a helping hand to those in need.