7 Unusual Reasons Why You Must Read Books

Jerry WalchStarred Page By Jerry Walch, 18th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Self Help

A recent study conducted in the United States showed that 28 percent of the 1,000 adults taking part in the study hadn’t read a single book during the previous year. The omnipresent video displays: television sets, laptop computers, notebook computers, desktop computers and portable DVD players have replaced books and magazines. A good book provides us with much more than good entertainment, so read on to find out why you must read books.

1. Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind (ToM).

According to an article published in the October 18, 2013 edition of Science Magazine, theory of mind can be defined as follows: the human capacity to comprehend that other people hold beliefs and desires and that these may differ from one's own beliefs and desires. The currently predominant view is that literary fiction—often described as narratives that focus on in-depth portrayals of subjects' inner feelings and thoughts—can be linked to theory of mind processes, especially those that are involved in the understanding or simulation of the affective characteristics of the subjects. Remember that we are talking about literary fiction here and not popular fiction, like Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James. Fifty Shades of Grey may make entertaining reading, but it will not work towards improving your Theory of Mind.

2. Reading A Good Book Reduces Stress.

Spending just six minutes with a good book can reduce your stress level by more than two-thirds. That’s a scientifically proven fact. Mindlab International at the University of Sussex England conducted research in 2009 that showed that reading was the most effective way to reduce stress. There research showed that reading was even more effective than old favorites, such as listening to music, going for a walk, or drinking a cup of coffee or tea. Their research was reported in 30 March, 2009 edition of The Telegram. "It really doesn't matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author's imagination," study researcher Dr. David Lewis told The Telegraph

3. Reading keeps Your Mind Sharper Longer.

According to a study published in the July 3, 2013 online edition of Neurology: The Official Journal of The American Academy of Neurology found that those who engaged in mentally stimulating activities (such as reading) earlier and later on in life experienced slower memory decline compared to those who didn't. In particular, people who exercised their minds later in life had a 32 percent lower rate of mental decline compared to their peers with average mental activity. The rate of decline amongst those with infrequent mental activity, on the other hand, was 48 percent faster than the average group. "Our study suggests that exercising your brain by taking part in activities such as these across a person's lifetime, from childhood through old age, is important for brain health in old age," study author Robert. S. Wilson, Ph.D., of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said in a statement. "Based on this, we shouldn't underestimate the effects of everyday activities, such as reading and writing, on our children, ourselves and our parents or grandparents."

4. Reading May Delay the Onset of Alzheimer.

According to a study conducted in 2001 and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adults who engage in hobbies that involve the brain, like reading or puzzles, are less likely to have Alzheimer's disease. "The brain is an organ just like every other organ in the body. It ages in regard to how it is used," lead author Dr. Robert P. Friedland told USA Today. "Just as physical activity strengthens the heart, muscles and bones; intellectual activity strengthens the brain against disease." The study didn’t show a cause and effect relationship, just an associative relationship.

5. Reading May Help You Sleep Better.

Curling up with a good book may help you to sleep more soundly. That shouldn’t come as any surprise when you remember that reading a good book helps you reduce your stress by more than two-thirds. It’s stressing over things that had gone wrong for us during the day and stressing over what might go wrong for us tomorrow that keep us tossing and turning at night.

6. Reading Good Fiction May Make Us More Empathetic.

According to a study conducted in the Netherlands and published in the journal PLOS ONE, losing yourself in a work of fiction might actually increase your empathy. The authors of the study, P. Matthijs Bal and Martijn Veltkamp reported that "In two experimental studies, we were able to show that self-reported empathic skills significantly changed over the course of one week for readers of a fictional story by fiction authors Arthur Conan Doyle or José Saramago. More specifically, highly transported readers of Doyle became more empathic, while non-transported readers of both Doyle and Saramago became less empathic."

7. Reading May Help Relieve Depression.

The authors of another study published in POS stated "We found this had a really significant clinical impact and the findings are very encouraging," study author Christopher Williams of the University of Glasgow told the BBC. "Depression saps people's motivation and makes it hard to believe change is possible."

*All photos from the public domain.

Tags

Depression, Literary Fiction, Literature, Popular Fiction, Reading, Reading Books, Reading For Improvement, Sleep, Stress, Theory Of Mind

Meet the author

author avatar Jerry Walch
Jerry Walch is a 71 year old freelance writer for hire living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been writing since the late 1970s, and writes for both the print and online media. He specializes in

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
18th Oct 2013 (#)

I read because I love to read so thank you for this Jerry...

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author avatar Jerry Walch
18th Oct 2013 (#)

Me too CN, but it is nice to know that something that we like to do is also good for us..

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author avatar Connie McKinney
18th Oct 2013 (#)

I've always loved reading and always will. I never knew reading had so many benefits. I guess I will keep on reading and reading!

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author avatar Jerry Walch
18th Oct 2013 (#)

Me too Connie. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
18th Oct 2013 (#)

Good evening, Jerry; I'll echo a few others and I also appreciate the scientifc evidence you provided that validates one of my favorite things to do - read a good book for the enjoyment of reading. Good work. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Jerry Walch
18th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you Marilyn.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
19th Oct 2013 (#)

Yes books are very magical and we should always value them, not just go for the quick and easy "movie version".

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author avatar Jerry Walch
19th Oct 2013 (#)

Couldn't agree with you more, Mark.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
19th Oct 2013 (#)

What a wonderful article, Jerry!! It's hard to turn off the machines, but good to know reading "does a body good!"

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author avatar Jerry Walch
19th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you for mreadin, commenting and for the great compliment, Phyl.

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author avatar M G Singh
19th Oct 2013 (#)

Jerry, I agree with you. I love reading books

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author avatar Jerry Walch
19th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you for reading and commenting, Madan.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
19th Oct 2013 (#)

There is a good lesson from all of this, that reading is good for your health - a proposition that I have long suspected.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
20th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you for reading and commenting, Peter.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
20th Oct 2013 (#)

I also echo all the book worms here Jerry ..I love reading , especially historical novels that are based on fact ..and I enjoyed reading your article about the benefits of reading as well .
Bless you
Stella

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author avatar Jerry Walch
20th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you Stella.

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author avatar Austee
14th Jun 2014 (#)

Very well said. I loved reading books...

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author avatar Jerry Walch
14th Jun 2014 (#)

Thanks for reading and for commenting Austee. Nice to see you again.

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author avatar Austee
14th Jun 2014 (#)

It's nice to be here again. =)

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