I’m an avid reader and read at least two books at a time – one fiction and one non-fiction. It’s my way to relax, learn, experience other worlds and points of view. Little did I know that my reading habit increases empathy, improves brain connectivity, fights depression, reduces age-related cognitive decline, and helps me sleep (via Healthline). Surprisingly it also gives physical benefits. Peggy
Here’s what happens to your body if you read every day.
When researchers set out to discover which traditional method of relaxation works best, reading came out on top. Participants in a study first underwent a range of rest and exercises to increase their stress levels and heart rate. They were then subjected to the methods of relaxation like listening to music, playing video games, going for a stroll, sipping a piping hot cup of tea, or reading silently for six minutes. Neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis reported that the latter activity had the largest effect, ultimately reducing stress levels by a whopping 68%.
“Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation,” said Lewis. “This is particularly poignant in uncertain economic times when we are all craving a certain amount of escapism.” He also noted that it doesn’t really matter what pick you pick up. Whether you opt for a gory mystery novel or the latest self-help book to make its rounds, it’s the actual act of reading that causes you to enter a more relaxed state. “By losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination,”
Reading a chapter a day keeps the doctor away
“Another relevant study focused on whether or not reading a chapter of a book each day increases a person’s survival advantage, or length of life. The results, which were published in Social Science & Medicine, indicated that those who regularly read books for 12 years experienced a 20% reduction in their risk of dying compared to non-book readers. Based on these numbers, book readers can add almost a year to their life. This is because reading involves a cognitive mediator, which is a mental process that occurs between an activity and a response. It’s similar to how cognitive behavioral therapy affects your mind and body.”
“These findings proved true regardless of the gender, education, wealth, or health of participants. Reading did, however, have an even more powerful effect on the elderly, and reading books proved much more effective than reading newspapers or magazines. So if you want to live until Elon Musk starts colonizing Mars, you’ll have to put down that People Magazine and head on over to your local library.”
Something to read- our book! : Hack Your Way to Happiness, Kindle edition