7 Reasons Why We Should Read More

In a previous article, we shared tips on how to read more books and enjoy the process. But it’s not always clear why we should read books in the first place or if there’s any practical use in it.

5-Minute Crafts is going to tell you why reading is good for you and why fiction literature should be your category of choice.

1. Reading improves empathy

People that read literary fiction show a better ability to understand other people’s feelings and emotions. The thing is, reading these books develops the skills of building and supporting social connections. According to scientists, people that read a lot of literary fiction have better communicative skills.

2. Reading improves your vocabulary

Scientists found that school students that read a lot develop better vocabulary. And the vocabulary itself has a positive influence on the students’ literacy. And vice versa, a bad vocabulary slows down the learning process. The Oxford University report says so. It also states that the regular reading and discussing of book contents with teachers, parents, and peers can help.

3. Reading makes us more open and creative

In real life, we often have to make quick decisions, so we don’t have enough time to process new information or think about other options. When we read literary fiction, we become more open to new experiences.

This is the conclusion scientists at the University of Toronto came to. Some subjects were asked to read a fictional story and others were asked to read the same story that was written as a documentary. After that, the subjects filled out questionnaires to estimate the level of their cognitive skills. It turned out that those that read fiction were more flexible and creative than those that read the other types of text. The effect was more visible in people that read regularly.

4. Reading develops our personalities

Reading literary fiction can change and develop our personalities. During another study at the University of Toronto, scientists asked the subjects to fill out questionnaires about emotions and the key features of their personalities. Then, 50% of them read Chekhov’s The Lady with the Dog about a married man that went to a resort and had an affair with a married woman. The other 50% of the subjects read the story as a documentary. After reading, they filled out the questionnaires again, and the answers of the people that read the fictional story changed. When they read a story of someone else’s life experience, they looked at themselves from a different angle. But the people that read the documentary version didn’t show any different results.

Imagining new life experiences creates a space where readers can grow and change. Keith Oatley, a University of Toronto psychologist said, “As you identify with another person, a protagonist in the story, you enter into a piece of life that you wouldn’t otherwise have known. You have emotions or circumstances that you wouldn’t have otherwise understood.”

5. Reading prevents age-related changes

The National Institute on Aging recommends reading books and magazines to keep the mind active. According to NIA, it might decrease the risk of cognitive disorders and dementia. Besides, this activity can protect the brain help it adapt better to compensate for age-related health changes.

6. Reading lowers stress

In 2009, a group of scientists from Seton Hall University studied the influence of yoga, humor, and reading on the stress levels of students. The study showed that 30 minutes of reading lowers arterial blood pressure, heartbeat, and psychological stress just as effectively as yoga and humor. The authors of the study claim that it’s easy to find 30 minutes to read every day to decrease your stress level without distracting from your studies very much.

7. Reading makes your life longer

Scientists at Yale University were watching the lives of 3,635 people aged 50 and more, for 12 years. They found that those that read books for 30 minutes a day lived 4 months longer on average than those that didn’t read at all or only read magazines.

The scientists say that reading increases the level of cognitive involvement and interaction. Reading makes us think about different topics, it stimulates the imagination, it improves concentration, and it develops emotional intelligence and the skills of critical thinking. According to scientists, these things have a lot to do with a longer life expectancy.

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