More and more research shows that reading is good for you, something that many librarians, teachers and parents have been trying to make clear to you for years. But why is it so good for you? We were looking for some scientific studies that show that reading can help you further in life.
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered that reading the works of, for example, Shakespeare and other greats has a beneficial effect on your mood. Literary classics and poetry can help you to think better about your own situation, and to put what you are experiencing in a different light. In this sense literature has a therapeutic effect. “The power of literature is that it can change ways of thinking and create new thoughts and connections in the brain.
Reading six minutes a day reduces stress by two-thirds
Reading reduces stress
Reading just six minutes a day can help you reduce your stress by more than two-thirds. That is what researchers at the University of Sussex concluded in 2009. It even works better than walking around or listening to soothing music. According to the scientists, this is because you have to concentrate for reading and you are immersed in another world. This reduces the tension in your muscles and reduces your heart rate.
Reading a text and thinking about it helps to train your ability to concentrate, so that you can also perform other tasks in a more concentrated way, according to Stanford researchers. Despite all the reports about the reduced attention span of people in the digital age: if you encourage concentrated reading, you can train your brain to switch quickly between more concentrated reading and less concentrated reading. “Keeping your attention on a literary text requires the coordination of several complex cognitive functions.
Enhanced social skills
Improve your social skills by reading? According to a study published in the scientific journal Science, this is possible. This does, however, involve the somewhat heavier literature of Chekhov, for example, and not popular, easy to read fiction. It has a direct effect, so after reading a chapter you would be more empathetic and better able to assess the emotions of other people. And also interesting: you don’t even have to love these kinds of books to get an effect with them – provided that you really read them with attention, of course.
Reading can help you train your memory, and is therefore also a possible way to, in old age, reduce the risk of dementia. Just like sports helps to keep the body in good shape, intellectual exercise helps to keep the brain in good shape. People who read a lot throughout their lives have a longer brain capacity than people who use their brains more passively.
Improved socioeconomic status
According to various researchers, children growing up with reading on average have a better social status in their later lives than children growing up with reading little or no. For example, a British survey of 17,000 people growing up since the 1950s found that a level higher in reading at the age of 7 meant a 5,000 pound salary higher at the age of 42. Incidentally, it is not entirely clear from the study whether these differences are caused directly by reading, or by the fact that children in higher environments automatically grow up with reading.
It makes you more tolerant
Reading fiction makes you more tolerant and open to other ideas, according to researchers from the University of Toronto. By empathizing with characters you don’t necessarily agree with, you open your mind to new ideas and perspectives. It also reduces your need for security and fixed values. The research showed that people who read fiction are better able to deal with uncertainty than people who read non-fiction. Click here if you want to find out more: tips to read