There are very few activities more important for our personal growth, yet undervalued, than reading books.
I am speaking from experience, having spent a limited amount of time reading books just a few years ago. Like many people, I had the time to read magazines and online articles but felt there was not enough time for books in my daily schedule.
In reality, I was just prioritizing other activities (like TV, video games, etc.) over books that had no real positive impact on my future.
However, all of that changed when I began reading books about personal development, mindfulness, & spirituality on a daily basis. And I quickly realized that I could find every answer to my life’s challenges in a book.
Since then, I have identified many other unexpected benefits that expanded the horizons and trajectory of my life. After reading this post, you will know the nine most important reasons everyone should make reading books a part of their daily routine.
Benefits of Reading Books
1. Makes Us Smarter
Reading enhances our intelligence and makes us more knowledgeable about the world around us. It also improves our vocabulary, which allows us to be better communicators.
2. Improves Memory
Unlike other channels of learning, reading gives us time to pause and think about the meaning of what we have read. This pause provides an opportunity for deeper insight and comprehension, which improves our memory.
3. Reduces Stress
By reading books, we take a break from focusing on the stressful realities of life. A 2009 study has shown that six minutes of reading a book can reduce our stress levels by 68%.
4. Expands Focus
In the digital age, the average human attention span (eight seconds) has fallen below that of a goldfish (nine seconds). Reading books allow us to practice focusing for a significantly longer period than what we spend on short articles, Facebook status updates, tweets, and Snapchat stories.
5. Improves Creativity & Imagination
What we read in books allow us to be more creative with how we respond to life’s challenges. Reading also teaches us stories of real or fictional characters that provide us a greater imagination of our future potential.
6. Slows Decline in Brain Function
Reading slows the decline in brain function that we experience as we age. Studies have shown that people that read and play challenging board games are 2 ½ times less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Improves Sleep
Many people use reading books before bed to de-stress so that they can attain a more restful night’s sleep. (Note: eBooks have the opposite effect due to the light of the screen disrupting our sleep-wake cycle.)
8. Become More Empathetic
Reading teaches us about the experiences of others. And understanding the experiences of others enables us to have more empathy (share the feelings of others), even if we have not personally had the same experiences.
Books are an excellent form of entertainment. Like any great movie, a book allows us to time travel and experience what life was like in the past or could be like in the future. Except unlike a movie, a great book can keep us entertained for days or weeks.
Expand Your Horizon
The benefits of reading books (listed above) can only be described as life changing.
In a book, you will find all of the keys to unlock your dormant potential. But you must be willing to sacrifice other activities in the short-term to gain these long-term benefits.
Pick up a book today and expand your horizons.