12 Scientific Ways Reading Can Actually Improve Your Life
1. Reading can help prevent Alzheimer’s.
A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that older people who read regularly are two and a half times less likely to have Alzheimer’s. While that doesn’t mean reading alone will prevent Alzheimer’s, it does suggest that there’s a correlation between intellectual pursuits, like reading, and prevention.
2. Being a reader means you’re more likely to learn something new, like whether or not your cat is trying to kill you.
Anne E. Cunningham wrote a paper called, “What Reading Does For The Mind,” and discovered that being an avid reader actually does make you smarter. It not only helps you retain information, but also helps you maintain that knowledge through old age. Whether or not you’re aware of it, reading fills your head with new information, and you never know when it will come in handy… Looking at you, Colonel Meow.
3. People who read are more likely to vote, exercise, and be more cultural.
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A study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that people who regularly read are much more likely to be engaged civically and culturally. Which means reading actually makes you win at life.
4. Reading a book reduces stress, and puts you in a better mood.
When you read, it transports you and your worried mind to another place, so you won’t feel so overwhelmed with the hardships of everyday life. And a 2009 study found that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels up to 68%. Read on, anxious ones!
5. Reading can be therapeutic.
According to Cristel Russell, a consumer behavior researcher at American University, reading a book—much like listening to a song, or watching a movie—can be a way to relive past experiences and gain new perspective. So, if you’re going through a breakup and read a book in which the characters are experiencing something similar, it can give you insight.
6. Having trouble remembering where you put those keys? Reading enhances your memory.
Every time you read, you create a new memory of what you’ve read—essentially exercising your memory muscles. With each new memory, your brain forges new synapses, strengthens existing ones, and helps to keep your memory sharp.
7. Reading actually does make you seem sexier, especially to women.
A study found that intelligence—even just perceived intelligence—is one of the most attractive qualities to women. So, keep your nose in a book and you’ll have people falling over themselves to try and distract you!
8. Reading helps to boost your analytical thinking.
That’s right, future lawyers and doctors! The more you read, the better you’re able to spot patterns, which helps to build those analytical thinking skills.
9. Reading expands your vocabulary, so you’ll sound like a smartie.
The more books you crack open, the more words you’ll be exposed to. Those words will eventually find a place in your own vocabulary. And since all of us need to use words at some point in our careers, reading makes it more likely that you’ll be promoted faster.
10. Opening a book makes you a better writer.
A study at the University of California, Riverside, found that when you’re exposed to a great novel, the writing of that author will inevitably rub off on your own skills. The same way that listening to music can influence your own style, so does a great book.
11. Fiction books increase your ability to empathize with others.
A study done out of the University of Buffalo proved that even though fiction is about an imaginary world, through reading you’re able to conceive of other possibilities, and a life beyond your own insular one. In other words, you may never have traveled to Europe, but by reading about a culture other than your own it helps you to understand their way of life. In that way, it helps you to empathize with other people and connect with different cultures.
12. People who read are more likely to get ahead when it comes to their careers, and life in general.
Honor Wilson-Fletcher, Director for the National Year of Reading, said that reading “opens doors and makes life easier, so at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you read. What’s more, it really can make you feel good!”