Good books are like good friends -- they offer so many benefits.
In recent years, there’s been a general and progressive loss of interest in reading books, a habit that bears many fruits when it comes to intellectual and cognitive development. Here are some of the main reasons to read a book every day:
It reduces our stress.
Reading is a way of submerging ourselves in a different world. It can be a necessary break in our day that allows us to forget our problems at work and at home, and temporarily escape the stressful situations in our lives. It’s a good idea to read before going to bed, because that way you’ll take our mind off our problems and manage to sleep more deeply.
It stimulates our minds.
Our brain is like muscle, and like any other muscle in our body, it needs exercise in order to be strong and healthy. When we read, our brain is continuously associating signs, sounds, and meanings, and transforming them into images and complex ideas, giving our mind a good workout.
It increases our knowledge.
Remember: knowledge does not take up space, so we shouldn’t hold back in getting all the good information we need. If we’re paying attention, much of what we read stays in our mind and rises to the surface when we need it. It is healthy for us to be informed about many different things in such a way that we’ll be prepared to face any situation. We end up applying many of the things that we’ve learned, although we may not realize it—even on a daily basis.
It helps us speak and write better.
Reading is a way of learning new words and expressions. Besides increasing our vocabulary, reading books helps us learn proper spelling. This helps to improve our verbal communication, both speaking and writing.
It makes it easier to learn languages.
As we just noted, reading improves our vocabulary and spelling, and indeed, our language skills in general. This will be a great help when we decide to venture into the world of learning other languages.
It helps improve our capacity for analytical thought.
Often, when we get to the end of a book, we realize that we’ve already guessed at least some of the key elements of the denouement. That’s because our mind has been storing and analyzing the information the author has been giving us, and we’ve been trying to figure out where it was leading. This exercise of analyzing the plot and characters, drawing conclusions about the author’s intent and trying to predict the plot, carries over to real-life applications, too.
It helps us understand other people better.
Reading quality narrative fiction helps us see the world from different perspectives, helping us understand what other people might be thinking and feeling. That understanding tends to make us more empathetic towards other people in real life, not just in books.
It improves our attention and concentration.
Today, in a world dominated by media and the internet, there are infinite sources of distraction. Even just checking our email at work, we come across advertisements that can distract us with their bright colors and enticing messages. When we read a book, these factors (which do not contribute to our learning or relaxation) are not present, so we can focus easier on the content. Like any other activity, concentration is partly a habit we form, so the more we read, the more we train our brain to stay focused.
It’s cheap entertainment.
Although some books can be very expensive, there is always a public library we can visit to find a good book. Libraries have an unlimited number of options for us to explore that will transport us to other worlds.
A good book is always a good friend. Reading quality material trains our brains, teaches us empathy, informs our opinions, and improves our communication skills, all of which is a great foundation for us to have a broader, more mature cultural understanding and a more solid intellectual formation. Children who grow up being encouraged to read, by seeing their parents read and having their parents read to them, will be thankful throughout their lives for all the benefits of this inexpensive and enjoyable activity.