Reading

Bookworms Rejoice: the Benefits of Reading

Bookworms need no convincing of the benefits of reading, for most of us, reading is engrained in our DNA. We love the smell of new books, or the email from Amazon telling us that new Kindle book is now on our device (especially those long awaited prereleases). But apart from the fact that we love it, why else is reading a beneficial thing to do?

Stress relief – Reading relieves stress because it takes our mind to a place far away from our troubles. It allows us to be present in another person’s moment, and our own fight or flight response calms down. Our, mostly unwanted, companion adrenaline, trickles out of our bloodstream. Our muscles relax, and the world seems a better place.

Empathy – Reading about someone else’s life and experiences gives us a sense of what life is like for that person. When we then meet someone going that same situation in real life, we have a better understanding of and can more easily share their feelings. Reading makes for kinder people (or so I like to believe).

Knowledge – Reading fiction is best done for pleasure and the sheer joy of it, but there is an unexpected benefit to the hobby. We learn. Authors tend to do a fair about research into their characters lives, so although it is fiction and not fact, you may find yourself learning along the way. The Book Theif, for example, opened my eyes to what Germany was like in the lead up to world war two.

Imagination – Reading requires you to use your mind. When someone is described as having a blue dress in a book we imagine it, our brains are working. In a film or TV show, you simply see it, you don’t get to use your creativity. TV is excellent, but it’s no match for reading when it comes to sparking the imagination.

Perspective – Reading can give your life perspective. Your own problems don’t seem so huge when you read about a character who has lost their home or a loved one. If you are feeling irritated with your significant other, I recommend you read “Ps I Love You” by Cecelia Ahern, or “This Love” by Dani Atkins. After reading those two beautiful romances, you’ll find the irritation fades.

There are so many other benefits of reading, benefits I haven’t mentioned here. If you have something you’d like to add to this list, please leave a comment. Let’s give reading the appreciation it deserves!

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27 thoughts on “Bookworms Rejoice: the Benefits of Reading

  1. Some great points there, Amy. Regarding the stimulation of imagination, I find reading helps me realise the endless possibilities of language, I learn about how the author has constructed plots, subtexts, dialogue, about variety of voices etc., in short about the art of writing. I find my writing falters and I become less inspired when my reading drops off. I think as writers we have a natural, unavoidable symbiotic relationship between reading and writing. I also make sure I read a variety of things novels, short stories, non-fiction, and poetry — it all goes into the mix that will become your style, I feel.

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  2. I think making reading a habitual practice also helps us keep our attention spans and builds patience. I read an article a week or two ago about how our brains have changed on a physiological level since the Internet has become more popular, and it’s harder than ever for us to sit and pay attention to one thing, because we’re so used to multi-tasking or reading short articles/skimming things on the web. Sitting and reading a book kind of combats that because we have to immerse ourselves and give our complete attention to one thing.

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    1. That’s a brilliant point Kel. Thank you for sharing. I hadn’t thought of that, but now I think of it, I have always had a good attention span, and have always read a lot. Very interesting!

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    1. I love historical fiction for this very reason. I’m currently reading “Dead to Me” by Lesley Pearse, which is set in London during WW2. It’s a great read πŸ™‚ Thank you for your comment.

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  3. I recently read “The Orphan Masters Son” . This is a fiction set in North Korea but as it is well researched it has allowed me to understand what it would be like to live there. This has given me empathy with the people who have to live there, knowledge of what their lives are like and a completely different perspective on what it means in terms of the current situation with the US and N. Korea in terms of international relations. Books fiction and non fiction can have real power to give us knowledge. Thank you for this very clear post.

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  4. Amen to that! I definitely relate to the empathy part. I find I’m a much more thoughtful person for reading. It makes it much easier to put yourself in other people’s shoes and empathise with what they’re going through. I definitely like to think reading makes for kinder people ☺. I also think reading teaches us how to be alone. And that’s more important than we often realise. The most important relationship we’ll ever have is the one we have with ourselves. For me, reading has been a big part of finding myself 😊

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