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You might be wondering what the benefits of reading books are. Do people solely do it for fun or it has more to it than we can see? Before I started reading books, I also didn’t see the point of leaving everything that I am doing to pick up a book and read. I would see people in the park or a restaurant reading and I would wonder. It was more fascinating to see a woman alone in a corner of a restaurant immersed in a book and I would just admire the sight.
Little things like this made me also want to start reading. Recently, I was chatting with a friend. She was complaining about how slow it is to see improvement in her life whenever she reads personal development books. Its true that sometimes you do not see much progress or benefits of reading books in your own life. But what if the benefits are more than we can see? Many people assume that when they read a book that will help them become financially stable, money will fall from heaven and they become instant millionaires.Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. —Richard SteeleClick To Tweet
Success from reading just doesn’t happen that way. Its what the book improves in you that makes you successful. After all, its useless to gain lessons from a book that you do not apply.
In this post, I will show you 10 unknown benefits of reading. As a bonus, I will be gifting you with a free guide to the top 5 beginner personal development books that you can read. Download the free guide down below.
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Let’s dive in!
What is reading a book?
Reading is a process that involves recognizing words, leading to the development of understanding. Therefore, reading a book is a process that involves recognizing words,characters,the plot and chapters of a book that leads to an understanding of what the book is about. There are three stages that make up the book reading process. They are:
- The pre-reading stage. This stage occurs when the reader gets a background knowledge of the book, previews the text, and develops a purpose for reading the book.
- The during reading stage.This stage occurs during reading, when the reader makes predictions as they read and then confirms or revises the predictions.
- The after reading stage. This stage allows the reader to retell the book plot, discuss the elements of the book, answer questions, and/or compare it to another book.
Every reader goes through these stages when reading. It is important to note that understanding is an intentional, active, and interactive process that occurs before, during and after a person reads a book.
What are the benefits of reading books?
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1. Reading stimulates your mind.
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. In fact, reading is the best brain workout. A neuroscientist by the name of Stanislas Dehaene published a study on the impact of reading to the brain. In his study, he used thirty-one Brazilian adults who’ve learned how to read from a young age, twenty-two adults who learned how to read as adults, and ten who’ve never learned how to read. His study was performed by using functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain function of adults while they responded to oral language, written language, and visual tasks. From this study a few conclusions have been made on how reading helps improve the function of the brain. The conclusions are:
- Reading increases writing skills and comprehension. In the study, Stanislas found that the parietal lobe was enhanced and stimulated. This is because the parietal lobe has a specific triangular-shaped area known as the parietal association cortex which gives us the ability to understand written language and solve mathematical problems. The parietal lobe is most active while reading and works with the temporal bone to store information.
- Reading increases imagination and plays a big role in decision making. In the study, readers showed that they could process visual information more accurately which helps in imagination. This is because the occipital lobe is the visual processing area of the brain. It is associated with visuospatial processing, distance and depth perception, color determination, object and face recognition, and memory formation. It also plays a big role in decision making.Stanislas found that the Occipital lobe became active while reading.
Therefore, reading plays a big role in stimulating the mind.
2. You gain knowledge.
Every single book you read has something that you did not know before. It could be as simple as a new word or as big as a skill. The truth is nobody knows everything but the more you read, the more you know. Depending on the type of book you read, you gain knowledge in different aspects.
For instance, A novel could give you new vocabularies or writing styles that you have never known of before. While a book such as Atomic Habits by James Clear could teach you how to build small habits that will bring massive success in your life.Reading widens the imagination by stimulating the right side of the brain. It literally opens the mind to new possibilities and ideas. This helps us experience and analyze the world through others’ lives.
When you read you are filling your mind with knowledge which has a way of coming in handy when you least expect it. Nobody can take away knowledge from you. The government can take your car, house and properties but nobody can take away what you know. That’s why investing in knowledge pays the highest interest.
3. Reading reduces stress.
Sometimes, one can be experiencing a lot of problems at the same time which can lead to stress. The simple act of opening a book and reading distracts you from thinking about your problems. Its true that the mind cannot hold two thoughts at the same time. Using this principle to your advantage can lower your stress level.
In fact, reading can even relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles.Research has shown that reading fiction is more effective at reducing stress than listening to music, drinking tea, or taking a walk. In fact, stress levels were shown to be reduced by 68 percent after reading. Because there is so much work for your brain to do, reading is a very effective way to focus your energy and improve your concentration which lowers stress levels.
4. You learn new vocabulary when you read .
The more you read, the more words you are exposed to. Learning new words, knowing their meanings and actively using them in your conversations and writing increases your vocabulary.
Every time I come across a new word in a book, I take time to find out and understand its meaning. I then write it down in my notebook with its meaning. This has helped me a lot especially in writing and speech. If I need to use new vocabulary I just check the words that I have written on my notebook. Every chance I get to use the new words that I have learnt helps me remember the words.
There is no better place to get new vocabulary than in books.
5.Reading expands your memory
The more you read, the more you remember the plot of the book, characters and the words the author used. This creates new connections between neurons called synapses. Reading trains your mind to retain new information.Therefore, the more you read, the more you remember.
6. Reading strengthen your analysis skills.
Am I the only one who predicts how a story will end in a book? Reading strengthens your analysis skills. You are able to analyze what will happen next in a story or why something happened. The more you analyze situations in a book, the more you increase your analysis skills. We all know that the more you do something, the better you get at it.
The stimulation that reading gives to your mind allows you think in new ways.Being actively engaged in what you’re reading allows you to ask questions, view different perspectives, identify patterns and make connections. Compared to other forms of communication, reading allows you more time to think by pausing to comprehend, reflect and make note of new thoughts and ideas.
7. Reading increases concentration and productivity.
In order to 100% understand what you are reading, You need to focus your attention on the book at hand. If you do not give the book your full concentration, you might end up missing important information which may waste your time by constantly going back to reread the points you missed.
The more focused you are on the book, the more you build up your concentration. If the book is interesting enough, You find yourself so immersed in the book that you have no time for distractions around you. the more you do it, the better you get at it.
Reading increases your productivity. The more focused you are at the book you are reading, the less time you will spend on distractions which are time thieves. This concentration makes you more productive which translates to all areas of your life.
8. Reading improves writing skills.
As I earlier stated, reading increases your vocabulary. This means that you have more words to choose from when writing. Also being exposed to different writing styles by different authors helps you write better. You get to see what works and what doesn’t. You are able to identify better ways of improving your writing.
Also, reading about writing improves your writing. When you focus your attention and energy at improving especially from experienced authors, you not only avoid making mistakes that the authors made but you learn more from their experience increasing your knowledge. One such book is On Writing by Stephen King. Stephen King uses his book to teach others the fundamentals of writing.
9. Reading provides entertainment.
Although we live in a world influenced by technology, reading is still a form of entertainment. Before technology, People read magazines or stories to entertain themselves. I personally believe that it is the most productive form of entertainment. You get all the above benefits as well as find pleasure in it.
When a good book makes you laugh and happy, its not only good for your soul but also for your mental health.
10.Reading prepares you for a good night sleep.
Reading before bedtime trains your mind to associate reading with sleeping. This prepares you for a good night sleep and will make it easier for you to fall asleep. Like I earlier said, reading lowers your heart rate and relaxes your muscle which in turn prepares you for a good night sleep. Smart phones, television and tablets emit blue light which disturbs the internal clock by lowering your melatonin level that negatively impacts your sleep. Avoid reading on a screen and read a physical book instead at least an hour before bed.
Top 5 Beginner Personal Development Books to read
We have discussed the various benefits of reading books. Therefore, the next step is to choose the best books to read in order to get all the above benefits. I created a comprehensive guide of best beginner personal development books that I have read. They are not only beginner friendly, but also short which wouldn’t intimidate you when you are new to reading.
Download the guide down below by letting me know where to send it to you.