Talking about the benefits of reading a book has become saturated. You probably know everything there is know.
That’s why I wanted to write about something new.
You have tons of articles that go over how good reading is, and why it’s important for success.
Celebrities — like Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and others — have book clubs to encourage their followers to read more. Reading will never fade away. The difference now is instead of books, we have Kindle and ebooks. The easy access to stories motivates everyone to read. As a book lover, that’s exciting stuff.
Reading is healthy, relaxing, and one of the best habits you could have to improve the quality of your life, and today I want to talk about some benefits of reading a book that you might not have heard of before, and if these don’t encourage you to read more, I don’t know what will, my friend.
Benefits of reading a book
1- Putting yourself in other people’s shoes
When you read about characters in stories like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones (maybe not Game of Thrones. Too bloody), you can’t help but imagine what you would do if you were in their shoes. Would you be a Slytherin, a Ravenclaw, a Gryffindor, or a Hufflepuff? (Psst, if you don’t know what I’m referring to, get a life, will you?)
Empathy is a healthy trigger for the brain. Fiction stories make us more empathetic, according to the psychologist Raymond Mar, who analyzed 86 FMRI studies. As a result, he discovered that there is substantial overlap in the brain networks used to understand stories and the networks used to navigate interactions with other individuals.
I used to think fiction does nothing good because I thought personal development and business books have practical lessons we can implement in our daily lives. As much as I love fiction, why would I waste my time reading an imaginative story when I could read a business topic that will give value to my life?
Well, it turns out everything you read has a role to play. Nothing really is a waste of time. Reading is always a good thing no matter what, which is amazing.
If you’re like me and you think that reading fiction stories will not help you, I suggest you look at this report by Fast Company:
Two researchers from Washington University in St. Louis scanned the brains of fiction readers and discovered that their test subjects created intense, graphic mental simulations of the sights, sounds, movements, and tastes they encountered in the narrative. In essence, their brains reacted as if they were actually living the events they were reading about.
I’ll never look at fiction the same way again. I imagine watching movies and series may have the same effect on the brain since they’re also stories. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate reading fiction as I did. Read and read some more if you can.
2- Reading is the most effective way to overcome stress
You read that right. Reading beats listening to music and taking walks.
Reading a good book is better than listening to music. Better than drinking a cup of tea. Better than going for a walk, and better than playing a video game.
How can something so simple be so peaceful? Reading puts you in a state of presence; you’re in the moment; you’re living in the now. That’s how people meditate, and that’s a state we all need to experience daily to feel happy and energized.
That’s what Yoga is for. I wonder what would happen if you combine it with reading?
3- Reading fiction stories improves the quality of sleep
The reason fiction stories are better than non-fiction is, they simply put us to sleep faster. Storytelling has been part of our history. We’ve been telling stories since the dawn of day. It’s how we entertain ourselves, how we create, and apparently how we can sleep better.
If you read a business book, that’s going to obstruct your sleep quality. Here’s why: it pushes you to plan and think about the future. Your mind wanders off and your brain becomes active. Tim Ferris, the best-selling author of the 4-hour workweek, says it best:
“Do not read non-fiction prior to bed, which encourages projection into the future and preoccupation/planning. Read fiction that engages the imagination and demands present-state attention. Recommendations for compulsive non-fiction readers include Motherless Brooklyn and Stranger in a Strange Land.”
Reading deactivates your brain. It relaxes it, which is why it’s the best method to go to sleep. If you have sleep problems, try reading a good fiction book.
4- Reading a good fiction book opens the mind
The next time you’re thinking of reading fiction, know that it’s an experience, not just a book with words. Fiction helps you run wild in your imagination. Studies show that books like Harry Potter, Game Of Thrones, and Lord of the Rings affect your attitude and behavior towards marginalized groups.
By reading, you also learn about the general culture. Whether from historical texts, fiction, or newspapers, the knowledge acquired from these will help improve the individual’s work and creative performance, since knowledge about other cultures and events will be better developed.
Mic reports that “the researchers credited the Harry Potter books with improving readers’ ability to assume the perspective of marginalized groups. They also claimed that young children, with the help of a teacher, were able to understand that Harry’s frequent support of “The Mudbloods” was an allegory towards bigotry in real-life society.”
Also, fiction stories help us to have empathy. Through a good fiction book, we can experience change and different paths we would normally avoid in reality. Dr. Keith Oatley, a professor at the University of Toronto, says that reading produces a kind of simulation that runs on the minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.” George R. R. Martin.
5- Reading makes you live longer and happier
One of the benefits of reading a good book is you’ll be a happier and better person.
If there is one thing you could take from this article, let it be this: According to a study by Yale University, people that read 30 minutes or more every day live longer.
Reading is also associated with happiness. People that read more are happier. It puts you in a state of trance-like pleasure. It’s amazing how something fun can have so many benefits. Yet, many people ignore them.
I believe reading should always be a part of our daily routine. Like taking care of our health, reading is the best workout for the brain, which is like any other muscle. It needs care and attention. Ignore it and you’ll invite many mental problems like Alzheimer’s and memory loss. In fact, people who read more have a less mental decline in later life.
6- Readers build more vocabulary
Regardless of the reading style chosen, developing the habit of reading increases the ability to analyze and generate opinions on a specific topic, which translates into better-argued opinions, without the influence of other individuals.
If you read science fiction, horror, comedy, or Fantasy stories, your brain strengthens and your imagination grows. You become more focused, develop strong analytical thinking skills, improve your ability to concentrate without getting distracted, bring a sense of serenity and calmness to the mind, train the brain, like any other muscle, to stay sharp and fully functional, and, let’s not forget, you expand your vocabulary.
According to this study: “That fiction reading would increase vocabulary size more than just non-fiction was one of our hypotheses — it makes sense, after all, considering that fiction tends to use a greater variety of words than non-fiction does. However, we hadn’t expected its effect to be this prominent.”
Reading significantly improves spelling because correct use of punctuation marks, accents, and general grammar can be visually identified. Even if you are learning another language, reading can help improve your use of grammar by making the language more fluid and natural.
Reading is an amazing method of learning and personal growth and a fundamental habit for the personal, educational, professional, and emotional development of any person. Taking a moment to read can help improve comprehension, grammar, and writing, stimulate curiosity and imagination, as well as improve communication skills thanks to gained learning.
Have you noticed the difference between reading every day for months and not reading anything for a while?
Try it. See how you’ll feel after a couple of months of reading fiction stories. The benefits of reading a book, especially when it’s a fiction book, are endless. It’s just one of those things that we should always include in our lives.
I love this quote by Matthew Kelly that says:
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body and prayer is to the soul.”
I’d like to ask you a question. What book made a tremendous impact on your life? Let me know in the comments.