Why is reading good for your mental health?

Reading is an immersive activity that is beneficial in many ways. Readers enjoy stories, absorb information and broaden their horizons. For many, it is also productive by stimulating their creativity and encouraging them to write. A lesser known benefit of reading is its benefit in promoting mental health.

Since childhood, we liked to read as much as possible. Apart from textbooks, books to be read for pleasure are a fun hobby. From creative fiction, poetry, and drama to realism and self-help, there is an enormous range available to read. Books make us laugh and cry. They can intimidate and inspire, too.

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Reading around 20 pages a day has been proven to provide many benefits, yet most of us struggle to reach that mark. As people consume videos, shows, movies, podcasts, etc., digital seems to be replacing the physical book as a form of entertainment.

The result is a slow and steady decline in the cognitive and behavioral aspects of our mental abilities. How does reading contribute to improving our mental health? What are the benefits of the printed word?

Reading is a great mental fitness exercise because it makes the brain process text at different levels: to recall from memory the meaning of words, visualize and set context for what is being stated, draw conclusions, and store them for future use. Increased vocabulary, memory of facts, improved judgment of situations, and better problem-solving skills have been demonstrated in lay readers.

As an activity that stimulates the nervous system to make new connections, reading slows down age-related dementia and keeps functional memory working at full capacity.

Reading and mental health

1. Empathy for those around us is becoming an increasingly difficult skill to master. Research has shown that reading fiction is one of the easiest ways to develop the trait of empathy, which is vital to our mental health. With it, we can better manage our emotional experiences and reduce negative responses such as anger and jealousy.

2. Stress is a part of our daily life, and the modern world is a source of various stresses. Long-term stress is detrimental to physical and mental health. One of the easiest ways to calm frayed nerves is to stick around with a favorite book. May we come out with positive energy to overcome our challenges.

You don't always have to buy books.  So don't put off reading because you have a tight wallet.  (Image via Pexels/Abby Chung)

Q: Did you know that reading has mental health benefits?

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