He added “This is more than merely a distraction but an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.”
4. Reading helps to cope with depression
Book therapy or bibliotherapy can empower you to effectively deal with anxiety, depression and grief. According to a 2017 study, book therapy can be a helpful treatment option for moderate depression. The study found that bibliotherapy is “effective in the reduction of adults’ depressive symptoms in the long-term period, providing an affordable prompt treatment that could reduce further medications.” The results of the study indicate that reading regularly as a part of book therapy “could play an important role in the treatment of a serious mental health issue.” This is certainly one of the most helpful benefits of reading.
“Reading fiction can allow you to temporarily escape your own world and become swept up in the imagined experiences of the characters. And nonfiction self-help books can teach you strategies that may help you manage symptoms” of depression, says Rebecca Joy Stanborough, MFA.
5. Reading helps you live longer
A study conducted in 2016 showed that reading books regularly can provide you a survival advantage over other people who read other content or are not used to reading books on a daily basis. The researchers stated “Book reading contributed to a survival advantage that was significantly greater than that observed for reading newspapers or magazines.”
The research discovered that people who read books for 30 minutes on average every day or finish a chapter per day, had a clear survival advantage over people who are not book readers. The study paper added “Compared to non-book readers, book readers had a 4-month survival advantage at the point of 80% survival. Book readers also experienced a 20% reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow up compared to non-book readers.”
6. Reading helps you sleep better
A good night’s sleep is one of the benefits of reading. Reading before bedtime on a regular basis can certainly help you sleep better as it signals your brain that it’s time to relax and sleep, according to the experts at Mayo Clinic. If you want to make reading a regular sleep routine, then it’s better to “choose a print book rather than reading on a screen since the light emitted by your device could keep you awake and lead to other unwanted health outcomes,” explains Rebecca.
Studies have also found that reading can also help children to sleep better. It has been observed that 44% of children who sleep close to a digital screen get 20 minutes of less sleep due to its presence. This is where a book can be beneficial for you and your children.
7. Reading makes you empathetic
Reading a good story and getting mentally involved in the life and times of a fictional character can help you relate to others. As you read about your favorite characters facing different circumstances and challenges, your ability to understand and empathize increases.
According to a 2013 Harvard study, individuals who regularly read fictional stories and explore stories with different characters tend to have an enhanced ability to identify and understand the beliefs and feelings of others. “Researchers call this ability the ‘theory of mind,’ a set of skills essential for building, navigating, and maintaining social relationships,” explains Rebecca Joy Stanborough, MFA.
Although you might not become empathetic immediately after reading a few pages of a book, studies reveal that people who read fiction books over a long period of time have an enhanced ability to empathize and a better theory of mind.