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5 Scientific Reasons Why You Should Read Everyday

A host of scientific studies have proven that when it comes to neurological health and self-improvement, there’s one activity that beats the rest. This is your brain on reading.
by Carrie M. King | Feb 22 2018

We live in a world that fragments our attention. Push notifications are constantly alerting us to emails, social media mentions, news headlines, app updates, etc. and it can be hard to catch a minute you can truly call your own. And while it’s nice to be up-to-date, these constant distractions aren’t very beneficial for our brains. In a noisy world, where can you find calm and focus? The answer is surprisingly simple: read.

Read your way to a better brain

Reading benefits our brain in countless ways — and not just by filling it with information. The simple, mindful action of reading can make you more empathetic, less stressed — not to mention smarter — all in one go. But finding the time to focus on reading can be hard — and it’s getting harder. The Blinkist app was created with this problem in mind. It allows busy people like you to read the key insights to a nonfiction book in fewer than 15 minutes. That way you can learn new things in a fraction of the time it would normally take you to digest an entire bestseller. And even if you don’t have much time to spare, with Blinkist you can still benefit from the meditative act of reading, whenever and wherever you can fit it in. Here’s why you should make it your business to do so.

1. Reading makes you a better person

Yep, you read that right. Reading makes you a better, brighter person. How? In short, books offer instant access to a world of ideas, and open us up to the way other people think. A 2014 study by the University of Toronto shows that reading can positively affect our personality due to the way that it broadens our perspectives. Reading also helps to build empathy; insights into complex arguments and stories help you to better understand your colleagues, your loved ones, your competitors, and the broader world around you. If you can easily put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you’ll be more likely to make better, kinder, more thoughtful decisions. You can, of course, also decide to actively work on broadening your perspective by reading the best insights from titles about empathy and communication.

2. Reading stimulates your brain

reading in NYC

Reading allows you to vicariously experience sights, sounds, and situations by stimulating regions of the brain as if you’re actually living the experience. Researchers in Spain found that reading about pungent substances (e.g. jasmine, cinnamon, or garlic) kicks the olfactory centers of the brain into gear, while in France, studies have shown that reading about action (e.g. the boy kicked the ball) triggers those associated with motor function. This action strengthens and speeds up neural pathways allowing you to be more creative, think more clearly and critically, ask better questions and make faster mental connections. In turn, this keeps your brain healthy.

3. Reading staves off the onset of Alzheimer’s

reading

The simple, meditative activity of reading can help to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and mental health issues such as depression. But how? Simply put, the cognitive effort of grasping new concepts in a text activates a host of neural pathways in your brain. As well as that, when you’re focused on a text and, it has a calming, mindful effect on your brain. Just as regular physical activity keeps your muscles toned, mental exercise keeps your brain fighting fit for longer. A study by the Rush University Medical Health Center in Chicago supports this, saying that people who regularly engage in activities like reading are likely to have healthier brains well into old age. If you’re worried that you don’t get enough time to read due to time constraints, why not use the Blinkist app to fit a little reading into your day at any time.

4. Reading reduces stress

Learning to take time to read could be one of the best things you do for your mental health. A study by pioneering neuroscientist Dr. David Lewis of the University of Sussex has found that reading for just 6 minutes is sufficient to reduce stress levels by 60%, slowing your heartbeat, easing muscle tension, and altering your state of mind. If you’re feeling stressed at any point during the day, why not use the Blinkist app to switch gears, read a short pack of key insights, learn something new, and give yourself a little time-out.

5. Reading more makes you a faster learner

And now for perhaps the most obvious, but no less crucial, benefit that reading has on your brain. You learn! Reading is the easiest way to give your brain a shot of new knowledge that can open you up to a new perspective, idea, or means of doing something. All it takes to spark major change in your life is one great idea. Reading every day makes sure that you’re constantly exposing yourself to new potentials for change, and building your knowledge base. The more time you spend reading and learning, the faster you’ll be able to connect new concepts and spot patterns.

So, there you have it. Science has proven that reading is a cheap, easy way to harness a host of brain benefits. If you still feel like you simply don’t have time, then make it easy for yourself with a little hack: choose the Blinkist app so that you can easily fit a little reading into your day, no matter how busy you are. With over 2,000 titles to choose from, the Blinkist app allows you to explore a huge wealth of new perspectives and reap all of the benefits of thinking outside your comfort zone in as few as 15 minutes.

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