6 Important Reasons to Read
October is National Book Month and a good opportunity to pick up a good book.
Reading has many mental health benefits, such as coping with depression, anxiety, and grief.
Reading helps us gain insight into our own lives and the lives of others.
Reading helps to minimize loneliness for those who are living alone.
October is National Book Month, and, as a writer, I like to remind people of the importance of reading for well-being.
Reading keeps our brains active. It also is a way to bring about self-awareness. According to The International Arts and Mind Lab (2022), reading can help those facing mental health issues such as depression , anxiety , and grief . Here are several more benefits of reading:
Stress relief. When reading, we’re involved in the writer’s world and creating our own visuals for their words. In general, it can be more engaging and powerful than watching a movie. While being immersed, you are taken away from your own issues and problems; thus, reading can be a healthy escape.
Gaining insight. reading helps us learn about other peoples’ experiences as a way to learn how to navigate our own. Studies–such as the one conducted by Adeyeye and Oooh (2022)–have shown that reading also helped children face and cope with the uncertainty inherent in the Covid-19 pandemic. Reading helped them realize they were not alone in their experience. This resulted in a large percentage having reduced anxiety and a more positive outlook towards the pandemic, and, in addition, many were able to look past the pandemic. In this way, reading improves their understanding and self-esteem because the more knowledge we have, the greater our sense of self-esteem.
Improved cognitive health. Studies have shown that reading can stimulate the brain by increasing blood flow and bringing in more oxygen. When done on a regular basis, reading also helps prevent memory loss, dementia , and Alzheimer’s disease. According to a study at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, those who read might actually live longer. The study also showed that those who read regularly lived an average of two years longer than those who did not read.
Creativity boosts. For those who are inspired by the work and writing of others, reading helps provide inspiration. If we’re writers, new ideas might pertain to writing or any other creative outlet. I always tell my memoir students that it’s important to read many memoirs if they want to write one. This helps to offer perspective and ideas on how to tell our own stories.
Increased vocabulary. There are many ways to say the same thing, and the more words you’re exposed to, the more you can express yourself more accurately or differently.
Minimized loneliness . Studies have shown that for those living alone, especially elders, reading enables feelings of connection (Ryan, 2019). While reading is a solitary activity, it engages the reader in someone else’s life. The study showed that the act of reading is like having company, which would be true for elders and children.
This is a great time to visit your local library or bookstore and become inspired to read. Browse the shelves and see what books are calling out at you. Read the book jacket, the back cover, and perhaps the preface to get a sense of the book. You will know which one is for you. Happy reading!
Adeyeye, S. and O. Oboh. (2022). “Ensuring Emotional and Psychological Wellbeing in Children Through Bibliotherapy During the Covid-19 Pandemic: An Experimental Approach.” International Journal of Librarianship. 7(1). pp. 56-65.
Bavishi, M. D. Slade and B.R. Levy. (2016). “A Chapter a Day: Association of Book Reading With Longevity.” Social & Science Medicine. Sept 2016. Pp. 44-48.
International Arts and Mind Lab (2022). “The Mental Health Benefits of Reading.” Psychology Today. March 16.
Ryan, C. (2019). “Reading and Wellbeing in Old Age.” Anthropology and Aging. Vol 40. No. Vol 2. Pp. 67-71.