When an individual hears the word “reading,” it means something unique to them. Memories from our younger years may come to mind. You could have been the child sitting in a corner, entranced by a story while the other children played. On the other hand, you may have been the teenager skimming through a book you were required to read before class because you didn’t actually finish it.
Whether you loved or hated reading when you were growing up, you still learned a lot from reading. It is the foundation of how we absorb knowledge and grow into the people we are today. It is okay if you disliked reading in your school years. In many cases, it probably had more to do with what you were told to read instead of choosing a book or subject that interested you.
At Silver Comet Village, a senior living community in Powder Springs, Georgia, we love a good story! There are many benefits of reading books and, because September is “Read a New Book Month,” it’s the perfect time to highlight how reading can improve your overall well-being.
Improves Brain Functioning
When you use your muscles regularly, you retain and strengthen these muscles. However, the opposite is also true; when you do not actively work your muscles, they can become weaker. The brain functions the same way. The mental stimulation that reading provides can help to keep your mind sharp and improve your focus.
Additionally, reading can enhance your memory. If you think about it, especially when reading a work of fiction, this benefit seems obvious. As you read a book, you are introduced to different characters, settings, and plot points that you need to keep track of in order for the story to make sense. This act of remembering details get subconsciously translated into everyday life.
Improving brain functioning is one of the many benefits of reading books, but how does reading affect your brain health? Kim Miller, a writer for Seniors Lifestyle Mag, states, “reading is a brain challenging activity…[and] can help build neuronal connections.” These connections that are forged and strengthened in the brain help prevent age-related cognitive decline and can delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Sharpens Analytical & Problem-Solving Skills
A great example of this happens when you read mystery novels or a book that keeps you guessing. When you read a mystery book, you are continuously thinking through several possible outcomes and piecing together small parts of the plot to form the bigger picture. In the same way that reading improves memory, it also strengthens analytical and problem-solving skills. When you are constantly thinking through the hypothetical outcomes of a novel, sooner or later, you will do this in your everyday life.
Reduces Feelings of Stress
We all need a way to decompress and lower our stress levels. For many individuals, reading is a great way to escape to another place and time. Reading allows you to get lost in the world of the story and serves as a distraction from the stressors that are present in your life, allowing you to unwind. According to CapTel, “research shows that grabbing a good book may reduce stress levels by as much as 68 percent.”
Because reading reduces stress, it can also help you get a better night’s sleep. By implementing reading into your nightly routine, you decompress and lower your stress levels, allowing your mind and body to unwind and get ready for rest. Additionally, if you make it a habit to read every night, your body will learn that this is a signal that it is time for bed.
Healthline reports, “research has shown that people who read literary fiction – stories that explore the inner lives of characters – show a heightened ability to understand the feelings and beliefs of others.”
When we observe how other individuals react to one another, we learn how to do so ourselves. This is a major reason why socialization is essential to our overall well-being, but this can also be achieved through reading. Even though many of the characters we read about and observe are fiction, they are based on real human relationships. This is what makes a good novel engaging.
At Silver Comet Village, we encourage individuals to lead engaging, enriched lives. Reading is one way to accomplish this. For more information on our community or the services we offer, contact a member of our team in Powder Springs, Georgia.
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