Reading Has a Wide Range of Health Benefits
Reading is a type of mental stimulation that enhances critical thinking, further develops analytical skills and improves concentration. Sustained reading can alleviate stress by up to 68%, significantly improving one’s overall sense of well-being. Current research suggests that reading also has a long-lasting biological effect on the brain, helping readers retain their memory as they age. Dr. Eldor Brish – a veteran pain management physician and avid reader, states that engaging oneself in a piece of fiction keeps the mind sharper and provides a multitude of mental health benefits. Dr. Eldor Brish outlines some of the advantages of making reading a daily habit.
- Mental Stimulation
Reading is not only a source of entertainment but also a complete neural workout with far-reaching benefits. A study performed by the researchers at Emory University Center for Neuropolicy found evidence of increased neural activity in those who engaged in nightly reading. The study had participants complete assigned readings over a nine-day period and underwent fMRI scans during resting states. Researchers concluded heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with language comprehension. Similarly, the neural connections were not only immediate reactions to certain narratives but days after participants finished the novel.
- Improved Memory
According to Dr. Eldor Brish, reading can drastically improve one’s ability to retain information over an extended period. Reading has been known to slow cognitive decline in individuals who actively engage in mental stimulation. Likewise, regular reading has been known to reduce the chances of being diagnosed with a debilitating disease such as Alzheimer’s. Elderly individuals are over two times less likely to develop the disease as a result of brain activities such as reading.
- Enhanced Empathy & Compassion
Reading can excite the imagination leading to enhanced visualization skills and increased empathy. Scientists have found a connection between the process of reading and social behavior, arguing that the fiction genre, in particular, expanded one’s capacity to place themselves in the shoes of another. Literary fiction forces the reader to imagine introspective dialogues, and fill in the gaps creating a psychological awareness.
4. Increased Focus & Concentration
Reading requires a significant amount of focus for one to be able to comprehend the information in front of them. Sitting down to read exercises this function, grabbing one’s attention and is a tool for improving focus over time. Reading also expands one’s vocabulary, providing one with a further understanding of language itself.
Make Reading a Part of Your Daily Activities Ultimately, reading engages multiple brain regions simultaneously, providing a wide range of neural benefits. Reading a complex form of entertainment that can lead to increased brain function. Dr. Eldor Brish encourages individuals to take a break from the television and making reading an essential aspect of their daily schedule.