6 Reasons Why You Should Be Reading More

31 Aug 2015

From detoxes to chia seeds to the Paleo diet and more, new trends in wellness are constantly emerging. While we’re always receptive to trying the healthy habit du jour here at NewInBooks (after all, we love bringing you the latest in literature), we also believe in keeping the classics alive. You probably already know that reading is fantastic for you, but here is a list of our five favorite reasons why.

1) Reading is a great way to de-stress. 

A study at the University of Sussex found that reading for six minutes reduced stress levels in participants by as much as 68 percent, showing it to be more effective than other traditional relaxation methods such as going for a stroll or putting on some tunes. Head investigator Dr. Lewis explained to the Telegraph, “It really doesn’t matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stress of the everyday world”.

2) It boosts your empathy. 

Forget having to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes; just find some literary fiction to read! Several studies, including one from David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano featured by Science, show that people who read literary fiction are better at understanding the emotional and mental states of others. This understanding fosters the growth of deeper social relationships. So feel free to embrace all the feels. 

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3) Reading keeps your brain ultra fit.

Sometimes we focus so much on getting our bodies in tip-top shape that we forget that our brains need some TLC too! According to ScienceDaily, a study published in Neurology found that the mental stimulation created by reading can preserve high cognitive functioning later in life. Even more impressive, USA Today reported that a study published in the the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that adults who read were as much as 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

4) It expands your vocabulary. 

In today’s society, there is so much focus on getting information quickly and easily, which often comes at the expense of a diverse vocabulary. A research overview from the National Literacy Trust writes that a 2002 study by Angelos and Mcgriff found that reading boosted vocabulary size regardless of IQ score. Life’s too short to say “very” all the time. Cue Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. 

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5) Reading makes you better at reading.

Yes, we meant to say that. The same report from the National Literacy Trust noted that reading for pleasure fosters positive attitudes towards reading in general, which is correlated with higher achievement in reading. Whether it’s for work or for school, most of us have to do reading that is less than exciting, but with a positive mindset, we can make the reading we have to do more enjoyable and productive. Now you have a valid excuse to keep reading that great book even when you’re supposed to be doing other things.

6) It makes you more interesting.

Lastly, reading just makes you a more interesting human. Don’t be that person at cocktail parties who can only seem to talk about work or the weather. Asking people what they’re reading (or what they want to be reading) is a great conversation topic and can facilitate more stimulating discussion, particularly if you’re able to offer your two-cents. An added bonus: you might even be able to add a new title or two to your reading list.

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So the next time you’re not quite sold on those kale chips or suspicious of your friend’s new bone broth obsession, get inspired by one of the oldest tricks in the book (literally).

Want to learn more? Check out these informative articles from The Huffington Post and Real Simple.

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J Kenner

J. Kenner is the New York Times bestselling author of Release Me, Claim Me, Complete Me, Wanted, Heated, Ignited, Say My Name, On My Knees, Under My Skin, Dirtiest Secret, Hottest Mess, Sweetest Taboo, and the novellas Take Me, Have Me, Play My Game, Seduce Me, Unwrap Me, and Deepest Kiss. She spent more than ten years as a litigator in Southern California and Central Texas, using her rare free time to indulge in her passion of writing. She lives in Texas with her husband and daughters.