Have you ever thought if reading can improve your health? Has it come to mind if you think reading should be part of your daily routine? Some people may not think so, but making reading a habit can bring a lot of benefits over time. The scientific benefits of reading have been laid out over the years, and they’re positive for the most part. Also, it can help us be more productive and stay focused on our work.
The scientific benefits of reading: Why is reading important?
When was the last time you sat down to read a good book? It may have been recently, or it could have been months ago. Like some people, there were periods where I didn’t read books in my spare time. Either I was busy with other things, or I was tired most days. After some long days of work, I felt that it wasn’t worth setting the time for it.
Thinking about my past, I look at myself as being lazy for not doing something that would benefit me one way or the other. I knew I should be reading more, but I wasn’t up to it. Now that I set time to learn more each day, I know it helps to expand my knowledge and vocabulary. More so, the scientific benefits layout exceptional cases for people to make reading a regular hobby.
In this post, I’ll review some of the benefits of reading can bring to increase productivity. Whether it’s staying on track of things at home or in the office, there are good reasons to make reading a hobby. Some of the best benefits include:
Improving concentration and focus
Higher analytical thinking skills
Improving writing skills
Improving memory and less cognitive decline
Helping you live longer
The scientific benefits of reading
Improves concentration and focus
One of the biggest problems today is short attention spans (on average, 8 seconds or less of retention time). In the internet age, we’re exposed to more visual components than ever. Ads, banners, graphs, and so forth can distract us that it’s hard to stay focused. But with reading a book, it can help improve concentration by doing its regular practice. Our brain is looked at as a muscle; therefore, the more it is trained, the better it works. Without all of the distractions, something such as a physical book can help you remain concentrated.
Similar to other people, I’m somewhat distracted by ads and pictures when I’m on the internet. So it can be hard to read an online article when there are ads placed on a page. In recent years, I’ve read more digital books and news articles, but I’ve gone back to physical books. There’s a big difference when it comes to physical and digital books, so I feel a little more focused when reading a physical book.
Reduces stress for the long-term
Working long hours while not being productive can be very stressful. When that happens, physical and mental health levels, along with happiness will decrease.
According to one study done in the U.K. at the University of Sussex, the results found reading to reduce stress much faster (68% reduction) than other activities, including the following:
- Listening to music (61%)
- Having a cup of tea or coffee (51%)
- Going for a walk (41%)
- Playing video games (21%)
It’s been asked how reading can reduce stress than the other factors. The researchers indicated it helps shift your focus while unwinding from other activities. For example, reading a book can help move away from easy distractions such as cell phones. By only taking five-six minutes a day for reading, it can significantly reduce your stress levels down the road.
Better analytical thinking skills
Reading can also help with problem-solving skills. If you’re a regular reader, you may not find it difficult when faced with common work problems. That can be a weakness for some people when it comes to more challenging issues to overcome. But if you read often, it may be easier to think about ideas and solutions for more significant challenges.
Example of mystery-solving
If you’re a fan of mystery novels or movies, you know it involves some work to figure out the puzzle. Putting down all of the notes, or figuring out how one thing happened and so forth requires some critical thinking. But if you’re used to mystery novels, you know how the patterns work. More so, it makes it easier to solve problems when you have more persuasive analytical skills.
Improves writing skills
One of the best parts of reading is getting exposure to other people’s writing. Especially when reading books from some of the best authors in the world, it can be an eye-opener. The more you read, the more you grow your vocabulary and incorporate new words in your language. It works similarly to aspiring musicians who look up to some of the best musicians in the world. The more you read and study somebody else’s work, the better you’ll become in that field (particularly when it comes to writing).
How my writing skills have improved
Throughout the years, I’ve noticed my writing has drastically improved as a result of reading. I recall reading some books where I’ve discovered new words. Those were the same words I used in some articles I’ve written before, and it’s helped expand on my vocabulary. So I feel that my writing has gotten better as I grow on my vocabulary. Instead of using vague terms, I’ll use less common words that people won’t refer to all the time.
There are many things you need to remember when reading a book. It can be the plot, characters, backgrounds, history, and so forth. While keeping that all in mind, some of those things need to be referred back to while reading a book. So it’ll help keep your memories refreshed when you come back to the next chapter. Also, it’ll be less frustrating having to recall some details from a book you’ve read for some time.
How it helps me retain memory
When I read books, I know I’m given the challenge to remember some of the details. Even remembering some of the small things can be important later on in a book. If it’s a book I’m really into, I make sure not to put off reading the book. If I do, I’ll forget what happened and get frustrated with the memory loss.
Overall, there’s no doubt there are many benefits to reading books. Especially for the ones I listed out earlier, it can help you stay focused and remain productive at work. These days, it’s much harder for people to read because of electronic distractions, or simply put, they have too many things to do. If you’re too busy and the fatigue grows, why bother with reading?
But choosing not to read regularly may result in a loss of small opportunities. Whether it’s new vocabulary, advanced writing skills, the benefits are far much better.
I’ve started to get in the habit of reading daily. Although it may be challenging at times, even a little time each day counts. Whether it’s 20 minutes or even six minutes, it’s still worthwhile to get a little reading every single day. Who knows if that’ll pay off in the long-run, which it likely will.
What are your thoughts about reading in general? Are you willing to take on the challenge to read daily?
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Eric is a time management consultant and owner of the blog, quitkillingtime.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time, personally and professionally. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He likes to go for long walks out in nature and been taking Zumba classes every week at his local gym. You can follow Eric via Facebook and LinkedIn.