From reducing stress to reducing your risk of dementia, the benefits of setting aside time to lose ourselves in great stories are far-reaching and, at times, life-changing. Not only does it benefit both your physical and mental health — many successful people connect reading to their fortune. So if you're looking for some good reasons to make regular reading a part of your life, here are five ways reading can change your life.
It expands your knowledge — and vocabulary
Reading is one of the primary ways to acquire knowledge. Every time you read, you learn something new. Sometimes it's as simple as learning a new recipe, but other times it's the solution to a complicated problem or a completely new idea. And the best thing about reading is that the knowledge you gain is cumulative and grows exponentially. With a strong understanding of a topic, it is easier to learn new things and solve new problems.
Besides, reading expands your vocabulary too. The more you read, the more words you're exposed to — and these will eventually make their way into your everyday vocabulary. Being articulate and well-spoken is useful in many professional and everyday situations, and can help boost your self-esteem. Plus, If you're trying to learn a new language, reading gives you an understanding of how words are used in different contexts.
It strengthens your brain
Like any other muscle in your body, the brain requires exercise to stay strong and healthy. When you're reading, your brain creates new memories while existing ones are strengthened. That is, your brain's short-term memory and recall capabilities improve every time you read. And while a decline in memory and brain function is a side effect of aging, scientists argue that exercising your mind is likely to reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimers. In other words: use it or lose it.
It makes you happier
It's true — reading really does make you happier. One study found that it can reduce stress levels by 68% and works better and faster than listening to music, taking a hot bath, or going for a walk. Another showed that those who read for pleasure fare well in stress management, confidence, decision-making, and other emotional factors. And for many, the true value is in the opportunity to temporarily distance yourself from the stress of everyday life, putting your mind and body at ease.
It improves your focus
The average person will divide time between working on tasks, checking emails, chatting with people online, keeping an eye on Twitter, monitoring their smartphones, and interacting with their co-workers — all in under five minutes. This type of behavior not only causes stress, but it lowers our productivity. In a world where our attention is drawn in a million different directions at once, focusing on one story at a time can be a great way to improve your concentration.
It makes you more empathetic
Have you heard the quote "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies"? Reading can help you travel the world from the comfort of your home, or more easily see things from someone else's point of view. For example, reading newspapers from a different country can help you understand what matters to the people who live there. Similarly, reading a feature on a historical event might give you a sense of how things were back then. We begin to identify with the stories we read and get better at understanding the people in them. In turn, this is likely to make readers more empathetic people.
Here's how to get started
It's safe to say that reading can change your life for the better, and hopefully the above reasons are compelling enough to get you started on your reading journey. And if you're not sure where to begin, PressReader is the perfect app for you. Start small by reading your favorite newspaper while you enjoy your morning coffee, or make some time before bed to enjoy your favorite magazines. For the full selection of newspapers and magazines, check out our catalog here.