Ok, I agree, there are so many more than five, but I thought I’d keep it short and sweet...
Reading in and of itself is wonderful and yet the benefits of picking up a book can be vastly underestimated, so here are some excellent reasons to take some time out, make a cuppa, sit back and enjoy the journey of a book.
1. Reading Reduces Stress
Stress is probably the most commonly reported ailment in our society. The great news is that it has been found that six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 68 per cent! In fact, reading works better and faster than other methods such as listening to music, going for a walk or sitting down for a relaxing cuppa (so imagine doing both together!).
The stress reducing effect of books is not determined by the type or genre of book you are reading, as long as you can lose yourself in the story and imagery.
I admit I'm not the most relaxed person, so Tales & Tea is the perfect job for me - I get to read, drink tea, eat chocolate and call it work. By all rights I should be the most stress free person on the planet! I think I must need to read more...
2. Memory Improvement
When you read, your brain is doing a lot more than just deciphering words on a page. Reading is total brain workout! As you read, all the different parts of your brain work together.
For example, when you read, you tend to put yourself in the characters’ shoes. Your brain imagines details such as appearances, emotions, and surroundings. “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” - William Styron
With all this imagination and cognitive activity, new neural pathways are formed and existing ones are strengthened, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilising moods! Go and read a book immediately!
3. Reading Improves Knowledge
Getting lost in a book is more than just a turn of phrase; a great read can transport us to continents and cultures far beyond our own. In lieu of overseas travel, we can count on books to carry us across the globe or to different times. In fact, philosopher Immanuel Kant famously said he had no time to travel because he wanted to know so much about so many countries.
The knowledge and ideas about different countries, cultures and people can all be found within books and can challenge or affirm your world views. Why not choose a non fiction book and explore some new places (especially during lockdown)!
4. Mental Stimulation
Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy and reading is one of the best ways to exercise your mind.
Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of Alzheimer’s and dementia and dementia risk was significantly lower among those who reported daily participation in intellectual activities, like reading books, magazines, and newspapers, as well as playing board games.
It’s never too late to start reading and reap the brain benefits. Even when people started reading later in life, those studies show that the impact of this 'brain exercise' was still significant enough to delay or prevent dementia.
Reading into old age also reduced memory decline by more than 30 percent, compared to other forms of mental activity, so go forth and read and keep in mind (!) the old adage.. 'use it or lose it'.
5. Improved Focus and Concentration
In today's modern world, our attention is split in a million different directions with electronic devices, tv, social media and general information overload. This is not only exhausting, but also makes it more difficult to focus for longer periods on one task or activity.
When you read a book, however, all of your attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world disappears, and you can fully immerse yourself in the narrative. This is a skill that can be transferred into the real world. It may require a bit of practice, but in the end, improved focus and concentration can only be of benefit to you and those around you.
I have so many more reasons why you should pick up a book, but I'll leave it here for the moment... I'm off to do some reading. I've just finished the Gin O'Clock Club (the book for the Recent Release Package), and now am on to some armchair adventuring with Walking the Himalayas by Levison Wood