1. It makes you smarter and keeps your brain healthy.
Neurogenesis (growing new brain cells) can be stimulated by reading. More importantly, while activities like running and sex can also make new brain cells, using those new brain cells is necessary to keep them alive—it’s a case of use it or lose it, which running and sex can’t do. So, if you want to stay mentally flexible and healthy, learning, novel experiences, and reading are vital, long term. Reading also improves your memory!
2. It makes you more empathetic.
Studies have shown that people who read more fiction are more empathic towards others. This is probably because fiction allows us to ‘get into the head’ of other people more easily and see things from their perspective. We also, hopefully, read stories from the perspectives of people with different ethnicities, genders, and ages to us. So, we learn to think of everyone around us as having the same depth of thought, feeling and destiny as we do.
3. It reduces stress.
Reading for just six minutes can be enough to significantly reduce stress levels in the body. Studies suggest it works better than listening to music, drinking tea or even going for a walk. This is probably because it forces your mind to be occupied with something other than stressful thoughts. Less stress can lower your blood pressure, reduce weight gain, lower your risk of cancer, help you sleep better and improve your relationships with others.
4. It broadens your horizons and interests.
Reading exposes you to places, hobbies and ideas you never would have experienced otherwise. A good book may encourage you to go on a holiday, take up a new hobby or meet new people. It also allows you to learn about events and aspects of society you are unable to experience first-hand. What it is like to fight in a war, lose a child, be transsexual or a person of colour. You might be inspired to take up dancing or archery or even the best hobby of all: writing.
5. Its great fun!
Let’s face it, reading is fun. And ‘fun’ is an excellent reason to do things. You deserve to be happy and entertained and I personally believe reading is the best form of entertainment there is. Go forth, read more!
Born in 1985, Zaide is a shy Australian writer who spends an unhealthy amount of time reading thrillers and watching horror movies. She also loves cats and aquariums, and lives in a house dominated by both.
When she isn’t writing, Zaide is studying a Bachelor of Psychology—with a particular interest in the sociological effects of the internet on interpersonal communications, learning and information processing. Zaide’s other interests include cooking, rock climbing, gardening, web design, photography and video gaming. You can visit her website at www.zaidebishop.com