8 Amazing Health Benefits You Get From Reading

Taking a book from a shelf, leaning on a cushion, and passing the pages as time flies by has some amazing health benefits that you really don’t want to miss out on! Whether you’re a book enthusiast or not, taking a moment within your busy day to read somethingーbe that an article, a poem, or proseーcan produce some incredibly worthwhile effects for both your body and your mind. So, here’s a list of book-reading benefits that will hopefully make you consider adding reading as your new remedy. 

  1. 1. Reduces stress

    young Indian woman You're not like other Indians

    Life can sometimes get hectic, and these tough times can hunt you down in the form of headaches, annoyed sighs, and frustrations. One way to reduce all this negative tension is by reading. Stress is completely natural, and it’s also a defensive response when things don’t go the way you planned, but bottling those emotions can affect your emotional health in the long run. Reading can relax your body by lowering your heart rate and relieving tension in your muscles. 

    A study conducted by the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%; so when in doubt, take your book out. 

  2. 2. Strengthens analytical thinking skills

    hand holding book open

    Enhancing your analytical skills is all about keeping your brain active. Proactive reading, taking notes, and formulating questions about what you read stimulates your brain and it might just get those neurons pumping. 

  3. 3. Improves focus

    Woman with book resting in bedroom

    Having that beacon of distraction just at arm reach (yes, I’m talking about your phone) can make any little task seem extremely hard to accomplish. There are so many distractions in this technologically and media-driven world that concentrating on one single assignment or train of thought for a prolonged period of time can become an ordeal. Well, reading is great for improving your concentration, because when you read a book you direct all of your attention to a story as the real world fades away. 

  4. 4. Increases empathy

    two people reading books on couch

    OMG, yes! Reading makes us better people. Besides making us walk in the shoes of others, literary fiction transports us into another character’s mind which allows us to experience their emotions and external situations. We’re then allowed to feel things that we may have been unfamiliar with in our own lives. 

    Dr. William Chopik, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, says that fiction “exposes us to uncomfortable ideas ... and provides us with the opportunity to take other peoples’ perspectives in a safe, distanced way. In that way, fiction serves as a playground for exercising empathic skills.”

  5. 5. Builds vocabulary

    Person Holding a Book

    Okay, maybe this one is not necessarily a mental health benefit, but reading exposes you to new words; and, if you take just some seconds of your time to look for their meanings and understand the context in which they’re used, these words will ultimately expand your mental dictionary. After reading consistently for some time, you’re bound to notice the expansion of your vocabulary when it comes to writing and socializing. 

  6. 6. Helps prevent Alzheimer’s & dementia

    girl reading on train

    Reading on a regular basis stimulates your brain and it may reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's. It’s scientifically backed-up, so for a healthy brain for times to come, get a book and start reading. 

  7. 7. Alleviates depression

    a book a wooded surface with hands

    Scientific research has demonstrated that books can be therapeutic. A 2013 study involving 96 patients with mild depression was broken into two groups. The experimental group was given a book to read while the control group did not receive bibliotherapy treatment. Those who read saw improvement in depressive symptoms, whereas the individuals from the control group stayed the same. So if you ever feel like you’re down in the dumps, try reading something for a little while.

  8. 8. Lengthens your life

    woman reading a book on a window seat

    Yes, reading makes you immortal! No, but seriously, there’s evidence that bookworms could enjoy life longer. In a study conducted by Yale University, it was found that people who read books reduced their risk of death over 12 years in comparison to those who didn’t read much. Is there a better reason to read books? Nope! 

Sometimes we may take reading for grantedーwe read texts, answer emails, and we’re obligated to finish those chapters for class, but this is not the reading I’m referring to. Taking some time off to read something you really enjoy has incredible health benefits, so you might as well consider picking up that book from your shelf once in a while. And once you get old and they ask you what’s your secret for living a long and healthy life, you’ll know what to say.