7 Mental Health Benefits of Reading As an Adult
You have probably heard about the importance of reading for children, but all too often even the most avid young reader turns into an adult who never reads books. Perhaps you think you don't have time for reading. Here are seven reasons why you should make time for reading in your life.
First of all, reading is good for adults for exactly the same reason it's good for children. There's no better way to expand your vocabulary and learn how to express yourself more eloquently, no matter your age. That alone is a great reason to get a lens replacement on your reading glasses and pick up a book, but it's just the beginning.
The average adult can only focus on a task for 20 minutes at a time. Now there are plenty of techniques to help you maximize your productivity by working in 20 minute bursts, but you can also extend your ability to concentrate by doing things that require focus. Reading is a great place to start. If you're starting from scratch, you can begin by speed reading relatively short things and work your way towards reading longer texts more slowly. Increasing your ability to focus on a task will benefit you in your personal and professional life.
Along with increasing your ability to focus, reading sharpens your mind in other ways. Mental exercise like reading can be a good way to fend off dementia and other mental troubles, particularly slower, active reading of longer texts that challenge your mind and sharpen your thought processes.
You won't just be improving your mental health, either. You'll also be improving your emotional health. Reading teaches empathy to children, and it can do the same for adults. This is an area where fiction really shines because seeing the world through the eyes of a fictional character stretches the exact same mental muscles you need to see the world through the eyes of another person. These are the building blocks of basic empathy.
Building empathy is just the beginning of the social benefits of reading. Reading is a great way to learn how other people think as well as how they feel, and that can improve your social intelligence dramatically. Not to mention the fact that the last book you read is always a great go-to topic of conversation. Book clubs can be a great place to meet new people and make new friends with common interests. Remember that as long as you have a book in your bag, you have something to talk about with friends and strangers alike.
Reading as a child is great. Reading as an adult is just as great. Reading as an adult with your child is one of the best things you can do, both for them and for you. Children whose parents read are more likely to read themselves, and children who read with their parents do better in school and have happier home lives. Reading is an excellent way to bond with your child and give them the best possible academic start.
Even if you don't have children, reading is good for you for the simple reason that it relieves stress. Reading a book is a great way to wind down in the evenings and can help you relax and get to sleep at night. Unlike browsing social media, it doesn't keep you awake with constant small bursts of reward chemicals. If you think that reading is escapist, you're absolutely right, but sometimes the best thing you can do for your stress levels is to escape for a little while. Your responsibilities will still be there when you finish this chapter.
Another great resource about mental health is a site called TouchPoints. They can help you with any anxiety, depression, stress-relief, and other mental disorders. They have great blog posts that could help you.
These are just a few of the benefits you will enjoy if you make time for reading in your life. Your experiences will be enriched and your life will be improved. When you're reading, there is no such thing as wasted time.
*This blog post was written by Lindsey Patterson.