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How Reading affects our Health

Everyone loves a good story, don’t they? Whether told by a friend, a screenwriter, or an author, the narrative is cherished by humanity for its capacity to teach and entertain. But what about beyond that? Research has discovered that reading affects us in more ways than the two mentioned, ways that contribute to physical and mental wellbeing. This article will explore how reading affects our health.

Alleviates stress


Ever feel like everything’s coming at you all at once? Try taking half an hour to read something. A study taken by the Journal of College Teaching and Learning found that 30 minutes of reading helps reduce acute stress – as effectively as yoga or humour. By concentrating your mind on a book, you immerse yourself in the material such that you get a much-needed break from problem-panicking. When you revisit those problems afterwards, you should feel more relaxed and thus better equipped to tackle them effectively.


Aids in the prevention of cognitive ageing


Ever wonder why old people read so much? It’s not simply because they have nothing else to do. Studies have shown that reading, along with other mental exercises like arithmetic, improves cognitive function and keeps us sharper for longer. With many scientists arguing that brain atrophy begins in our 20s and 30s, you’re never too young to take advantage of these favourable effects. 


Helps tackle effects of depression


People suffering from depression often feel alienated and isolated from others. Fortunately, reading provides an opportunity to not only escape from the real world, but engage and assimilate with fictional characters. Not convinced by the idea of imaginary friends? Philosopher Roger Scruton once said, ‘Consolation from imaginary things is not an imaginary consolation.’ Just because that which brings you comfort is not real, does not mean that comfort is not valuable. Reading, whether fiction or non-fiction, can bring genuine solace.


Prepares you for sleep


Many of us like to check our phones one final time before bed. But oftentimes, this final check lasts for far too long: at times, even hours. Research has found that the light emitted by smartphones activates areas of the brain, impeding not only the ease of falling asleep, but sleep quality too. Reading is a much healthier way of winding down, for both the eyes and the brain. Reading before bed also helps you process and remember what you’ve read much better.


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