(AscendHealthy.com) – There is one simple thing you can do to improve your life: Read! It doesn’t matter if you’re reading for work or pleasure. Just the act of reading can improve your cognitive function and lower your stress level.
Don’t Stress – Read!
If you’re trying to find a way to reduce stress, improve your mood, sleep better, improve your relationships and strengthen your brain, then there’s one thing that you should do: read! Kids are often told how great reading is for them. It turns out it’s just as good for adults.
Research shows reading can help keep adult brains healthy. It is well-documented that reading increases cognitive function, improves memory, and increases creative problem-solving. But that’s not all.
5 Ways Reading Can Improve Your Life
There’s nothing like getting lost in an awesome book. Reading is an excellent form of entertainment, but scientists have found that it’s so much more than that. A good book can inspire critical thinking and creativity. Here are five more reasons to pick up a book today:
1. Reading Can Strengthen the Brain
Reading fires up the neural pathways, strengthening the brain. When you read a book, you have to remember details like the plots, subplots and characters. As you read, your brain is retaining all of these facts and creating new memories.
Reading creates new synapses and strengthens old ones. That means an improvement in short and long term memory functions.
Research shows that seniors who regularly read are 32% less likely to experience cognitive decline. You can also lower your chance of developing Alzheimer’s by reading regularly throughout your life.
2. Reading Can Improve Mood
Believe it or not, reading can make you feel happier. According to Dr. Josie Billington, a researcher from the Center of Research into Reading, Literature, and Society, reading helps people feel better by giving them a sense of purpose and place in the world.
Reading can improve mood because the transportive nature of it takes us away from the things that upset us in our real lives. And it’s not just that. Reading also shows us that other people have their own struggles. It lets us know that we’re not alone, and it helps to fight feelings of loneliness and isolation.
3. Reading Increases Vocabulary
One of the most effective ways to improve vocabulary is to read a book. It’s actually much easier to learn new words from a book than it is to just memorize words from the dictionary. We’re more likely to remember new words when we learn them contextually.
4. Reading Helps with Stress Reduction and Sleep
There are many things in our everyday lives that can stress us out. Hectic lifestyles can make it very difficult to escape stress and anxiety. The good news is you can lower your stress level by reading. Do you have trouble sleeping? Reading can help with that too.
According to the University of Sussex, reading can lower your level of stress by up to 68%. Professor David Lewis is a cognitive neuropsychologist at the university. He says it doesn’t matter what books we read. The point is, getting lost in an engrossing book is a way to escape from the stresses and worries of everyday life. Lewis says books can stimulate creativity and bring us into an altered state of consciousness.
It’s worth noting that reading on screens can actually keep you up at night. Reading on your phone or computer screen can give you trouble sleeping. Books, however, can make you sleep better. Reading books at night is a way to relax the brain and signal to the body it’s time to go to sleep.
5. Reading Increases Empathy
Empathy helps us to relate to others. It’s an important character trait for people who want to be kind and considerate to the people around them. One of the incredible things about reading is that it can help you be more empathetic.
When we read books about other people’s lives, it helps us develop skills for understanding the world through another’s perspective. This is the key to being empathetic toward the real people in our lives.
Experts say reading increases empathy by improving the “theory of the mind.” The theory of the mind is the way that we attribute mental states like emotions, desires and beliefs to other people. It is the ability to understand that people all have their own desires and beliefs, which can be different from our own.
By reading, especially literary fiction, we are deepening our understanding of the way other people think and feel. If you can empathize with a character in a book, you are much more likely to be able to empathize with real people.
With so many great benefits to reading, including improved brain health and general well-being, it’s easy to see why many people prefer reading to mindlessly watching a TV screen. Consider giving it a try: drop the remote and pick up a good book.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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