When was the last time you sat down, grabbed a good book, and devoted some time to reading? Perhaps even something like Success Magazine or Harvard Business Review? Or…do you get all the reading you can handle from Facebook posts, daily tweets, and nutrition information on your Doritos bag? If you are like a lot of people out there who are not reading, you are absolutely missing out on some major benefits reading adds to your life. Here are a few key reasons you need to go get a book right now.
1. Reading makes you a better writer
A study at the University of California, Riverside studied the impact different factors had on writing achievement. of the 46 factors, READING ability proved to be the strongest. Essentially, you develop your writing skills by having other people’s writing styles rub off on you. So if you want to gain an advantage in being a better communicator, get your reading dialed in.
Unless you are not in the world of communicating with others, you likely are sending emails every day, writing website content, writing letters, and generally…writing all the time! Wouldn’t it be better if you could make more of an impact with your words?
2. Reading keeps you mentally stimulated
Another research study shows that elderly people who regularly read or play mentally challenging games are 2 ½ times less likely to get Alzheimer’s. The study focused on the activities people engaged in between the ages of 20 and 60. In response to the study, Dr. Zaven Khachaturian explained the “effect seems to be that brain-challenging activities ‘build up a reserve’ of neuron connections.”
Remember that our brain is like any other part of our body. Inactivity and lack of stimulus causes it to function less effectively. And just like any other part of our body, we need to take care of our brain and give it a work out. The study also said that passive activities like TV, talking on the phone, or listening to music led to an increased risk. I would add my personal opinion here that our time on Facebook and staring at our computer screens fits that passive category as well. So get off your computer (after you finish this post), and grab something to read!
“The brain is an organ just like every other organ in the body. It ages in regard to how it is used,” he said. “Just as physical activity strengthens the heart, muscles and bones, intellectual activity strengthens the brain against disease.”
3. Reading makes you sexy
If you want some KILLER relationship advice, go check out Jordan Gray. He is an Amazon best-selling author, coach, public speaker, and overall kick-ass dude. If you read his articles, you will see he agrees that knowledge and personal development absolutely make you more attractive to the opposite sex.
If you have ever been wondering what to say to be more interesting on a first date, or feel lost in your current relationship on what to talk about, grab some books, start a discussion, and share some insights. When you start reading more, your partner will start reading more, and you will both become more interesting. Go get more interesting![Tweet “Reading makes you sexy”]
4. Reading improves your memory
Reading causes you to pay attention to a lot of information at once. You have to remember characters, relationships, connections between ideas, and plots throughout the stories. You also often end up empathising with characters, placing yourself in the story, and creating links to your own life. Even with all of this going on, our brains can process a ton of info very quickly.
When you read, you create memories, and these memories forge new synapses and neural pathways in your brain. The more of these connections you create, the stronger your brain becomes, and the better your memory gets over time. So read to strengthen your brain and become a mental powerhouse! Never lose your phone again.
5. Reading helps you sleep better
There is nothing that drives me crazier than having one of those restless nights where I can’t fall asleep! An article with sleep expert, Chris Winter, M.D. discusses some strategies on getting a better night’s sleep and one of them is to read a book before going to sleep (as long as it’s not a page turner that”ll keep you up all night).
“‘I can’t shut my mind off’ is one of the most common phrases I hear from the patients that come to my sleep clinic,” Winter says.
I wrote in a previous post the best types of books to read and when, and that a great type of book to read before bed is a biography – a story of someone else’s life. I find it puts me in a more relaxed state and causes better dreams too! So dim the lights, shut off that TV and laptop and get into a good book
6. Reading allows us to empathise with people better
Do you want to actually “feel” like a vampire? Well a study from the University of Buffalo with 140 undergraduates showed that candidates empathized strongly with the characters they read about in books like Harry Potter and Twilight. Take this a step further and think about books that you read. If you are going into a negotiation, or looking at understanding someone else’s point of view, read books that relate to the subject. You will start to see other sides of the story much quicker!
“The current research suggests that books give readers more than an opportunity to tune out and submerge themselves in fantasy worlds. Books provide the opportunity for social connection and the blissful calm that comes from becoming a part of something larger than oneself for a precious, fleeting moment,” Gabriel and Young write.
Also, one book I read this year was “The Goal” by Eli Goldratt and was recommended by Jeff Bezos from Amazon. It resonated really well with me because it was in a novel format, which allowed me to connect with the characters and understand some complex ideas more deeply.
And as a side note, big shout out to Dr. Domenico Lepore and Dr. Angela Montgomery at Intelligent Management for getting me to discover The Goal. They are in the process of writing their own novel called the Human Constraint and it will be awesome. Check out their site and stay tuned for the book launch.
7. Reading self-help books can lower depression
We all experience forms of depression and insecurities – some more than others. A study of 2470 patients with depression showed that reading some self-help books actually helped with symptoms. I am a big advocate of self-help books and programs, as long as they are used in the right way.
There are a ton of self-help books (also called “bibliotherapy”) out there to help us with all areas of our lives, but don’t get overwhelmed by all the “stuff” you need to do. Read some of these books and find one or two key ideas to apply to your life. I talk about this a lot with people that you need to take what you learn in books and actually apply it. Create a closed loop in y0ur reading. Test ideas and see how they work for you. Once you start trying new ideas, you will see that the action creates momentum for you and you will feel better.
So there you go! Proof that you must get your read on!
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