Scientists Are Right Again, Reading Is Actually Good For Your Brain
Read a book, it's good for you!
Read, It's Good For Your Health
You either love it or you hate it but reading is an inevitable part of life. Be it a lengthy novel, short story, or article on a great website, we all have to read at some point, daily. But did you know... reading is good for you.
Not only do you expand your vocabulary, your brain is allowed to take a break, explore a new world thus allowing your imagination to run wild. Reading is a relaxing distraction, one scientists and researchers have studied greatly. From transportation theories, to cognitive stimulation, reading is an important factor in brain maintenance.
Melanie Green, a PhD associate professor from the University of Buffalo spoke with NBC News BETTER regarding the importance of reading;
"One of the benefits to reading fiction is simply that it provides enjoyment and pleasure. It can provide an escape from boredom or stress. Stories allow us to feel connected with others and part of something bigger than ourselves".
The act of getting lost in a book is called "transportation". You are so enthralled, captivated, or hooked with a story, you are transported away from your daily life and into a new one. Nautilus explains;
"Transportation is connected with the powerful idea of flow: that pleasurable feeling you get when you are completely absorbed in an activity, and lose track of time. Reading, it turns out, is the most common activity people pursue to get a flow experience".
Think about the last time you read a good book. You might've lost track of time, burnt under the sun a little longer than you anticipated, or arrived at your destination much faster. You were transported to a different world, and that's a good thing.
Find Inspiration In Other People
Getting lost in a book can transform you. It's true! A study conducted in 2009 by Keith Oatley, a PhD professor at the University of Toronto, found that when a group of participants read a piece of fiction, they changed their personality more than the participants who read the same story in non-fiction. By doing so, the readers understood someone else (say, a fictional character) which ultimately allows them to understand themselves better, as well.
Community & A Sense of Togetherness
We all want human connection. Be it, coworkers in an office, best friends who have our backs, or a partner who loves us unconditionally. In a 2011 study conducted by the University of Buffalo researchers prove that people who read about a specific group (in this case Vampires from the Twilight series or Wizards from the Harry Potter series) illicit psychological attachment to either group. Thus, relating "to the basic human need for connection".
Another added bonus? When you read, you identify with certain characters, which builds your social skills and structures empathy. Oatley further proves that reading fiction correlates with social support and that "readers of fiction tend to have better abilities of empathy and theory of mind".
Your Brain Will Thank You
According to the US National Library of Medicine, reading is good for your brain;
"Research in psychology has suggested that reading fiction can improve individuals' social-cognitive abilities. Findings from neuroscience show that reading and social cognition both recruit the default network, a network which is known to support our capacity to simulate hypothetical scenes, spaces and mental states."
So that beach read, vampire series, or spy thriller, is actually beneficial to you and your brain. Take that, haters!
Getting Lost Releases Necessary Stress
This one might be straight forward, but it's true. Taking your mind off the daily stresses of your life allows you to relax, even just for a few hours out of the day. When your mind reads something, you are introduced to a new world and characters thus allowing you to stay present in a story but absence in your life, momentarily.