A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, and a person who never reads lives only one quotes George R.R. Martin. Reading is a cognitive, multifaceted process wherein we actually recognise the word and comprehend it to understand its meaning. Reading books benefits both our physical and mental health and these benefits last a lifetime. Reading strengthens our brain. Using MRI scans, researchers have confirmed that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. Study participants read the novel “Pompeii” over a period of 9 days; as tension built in the story, more and more areas of the brain lit up with activity. These networks get stronger and more sophisticated with the maturity of reading ability. Exposure to published well-written work has a noted effect on writing skills. Moreover, reading provides relaxation, immense peace and tranquility. Books also coach one’s imagination to think big. Apart from proving beneficial in clearing competitive exams, developing a reading habit helps in reducing depression. A 2009 study by the University of Sussex found that reading for just six months can reduce stress levels by up to 68%.
Research also suggests that people who keep their brains active by reading are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who spend their down time on less stimulating activities. Reading books also improves overall sleep quality. It feeds the craving mind.One of the benefits of reading is that it can increase one’s lifespan by as much as 2 years. This finding is based on over 3,500 individuals who were followed for roughly a 12-year period. Also, the study found that the more often one reads, the greater the decrease of one’s mortality rate compared to those who read less. Books provide an abundance of alternate realities but they also allow us to refocus, recharge, and reframe our perspective. Reading helps put our critical and analytical thinking abilities in motion. It makes us better thinkers, helping us sharpen our judgment abilities and can be a good source of motivation and inspiration. We start to appreciate other people’s opinions when we read and you even start to recognize our cognitive biases, which can possibly promote a change in our behavior moving forward.