BY ANDREW MCDONALD
Your mind, like your body, needs exercise. Working it helps it stay fit and healthy. Reading is one activity which stimulates mental activity, keeping your brain young.
Don’t want to take my word for it? Health studies have demonstrated how a primary benefit of reading is preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Books activate our brains, helping them remain powerful whilst warding off a range of illnesses.
Reading can even help people who are suffering with those conditions. Sometimes Alzheimer’s and dementia rob people of their short-term memory, but their long-term capacities stay in better shape. Unfortunately, books aren’t going to cure them, but they may assist in stimulating happy memories of past times. Those moments can be golden!
The great thing about books is there are as many different types as there are topics in the world. Whatever your interest, you can find a treasure trove of material in your local bookshop or library.
Books are also great stress busters! Doing nothing is a surefire way to increase tension in your daily life. All of us need quiet moments to rest, but this doesn’t mean we should fill them with nothing.
Reading something you’re interested in means getting physical rest whilst diverting your attention from what’s stressing you out. Of course, we also need downtime for our minds too and meditation is a great way of doing that… a subject on which there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of books!
If we explore the self-improvement genre further, we’ll discover those numbers run into millions. Sometimes choosing to pick up a book, rather than simply fixating on a problem, can offer solutions. Instead of doing nothing, you’re actively exploring your options when you choose to read!
Reading helps develop your analytical thinking skills too. Novels often encourage you to work out plots in advance of the ending. This ability is easily transferable into other areas of life.
When reading non-fiction, we explore ideas from new angles. This broadens the mind and makes our understanding more profound. Again, this strengthens our ability to think analytically.
Books have superpowers… they frighten ‘baddies’! If you doubt this, consider a moment, the sheer volume of works burnt by the Nazis in the 1930s. And this is only the most infamous example of censorship.
Think about it, if the Nazis hadn’t been terrified of the written word. Or who read it. Why would they have felt the need to torch to it?
Rather than a stuffy activity for swots, as reading is sometimes portrayed, it can be truly rebellious!
Reading also frees you from the world. When absorbed in a book, you often don’t notice time going by. All that matters is you and what you are holding between your hands. Bliss!
The key thing is to read! It doesn’t matter whether it’s an easy-to-digest novel or a heavy going academic tomb. It is the action of reading itself which brings you great benefits!