READING IS GOOD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH: HERE’S WHY

z5

The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes through embodied cognition is key to improving theory of mind and also the ability to be compassionate. Although this study does not directly draw these conclusions, it seems like common sense that if we encourage our children to read—as opposed to tuning out through television—theory of mind and the ability to be compassionate to another person’s suffering will improve. {Source}

DE-STRESSING

Taking a break to read can help with your stress levels, according to a University of Sussex study. The researchers increased the subjects’ heart rate and stress levels, and then gave them a variety of relaxing tasks. Guess what? Reading worked best to de-stress them. Personally, I’m not surprised in the lease. Plus, it only took six minutes (six!) for reading as a relaxant to kick in. Which means that if you’re going through something at work or school, you can take a short break – say, ten minutes – and read. Try it!

SLEEP BETTER

According to the Mayo Clinic (as well as my own habits and those of many readers I know), reading before bed can help you sleep better. Avoid e-readers before bed, because screens have an effect on your brain. Keep your paper books for pre-bed reading, and stick to a sleep schedule. Better sleep is essential. “Poor sleep and depression are very closely linked,” according to the Sleep Health Foundation, and “treating one condition will often improve the other.” If you can’t fall asleep, try reading for a while, and see if that helps. Make it part of your routine! Short stories are great for bedtime reading.

SOCIALIZING & EMPATHY

While many of us may have always assumed that reading helped our empathetic abilities, there’s now science to back this up as well. Several studies (one from the University of Buffalo, another from the New School of Social Research, for example) used different metrics and groups, but each showed that reading increases empathy. But for those who also suffer from social anxiety, there’s evidence that empathy and socializing in a healthy way go hand in hand. This incredible article in The New Yorker, for example, which discusses bibliotherapy, posits that books “give us a chance to rehearse for interactions with others in the world, without doing any lasting damage.” Reading is a kind of practice for socialization, which helps us be more comfortable later in real social situations.

AND IN THE LONG-TERM…

Even if you’re not worried about your current mental health, there’s evidence that shows the reading can help prevent various forms of dementia and memory loss and keeps your brain strong over time.

If you needed another reason to feel good about reading, here it is. And if, by any chance, you’ve been looking to read more, maybe these reasons will help you remember to really do it. Take the time to read, for your mental health, for your brain power, for your relationships, but mostly, for yourself. Read on, friends. Read on.

b3dbeb3a0bcdb919b86a340085292d6a--garlands-judy-garland.jpg

Judy Garland {READING} The Wizard of Oz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s