4 Ways Reading Can Keep You More Mentally Healthy

20 March 2015
 Categories: Entertainment, Articles

You will reap many benefits when you read books, and there are always new novels to read. Besides having many hours of free entertainment, reading helps increase your vocabulary, improves your writing skills, and boosts your imagination. But, it is even better when a good book can help your life by improving your mental health. Here are four ways reading novels for entertainment can help improve your mental health.

Prevents Alzheimer's

New research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found elderly people who regularly read or played mentally challenging games were 2 1/2 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's. So, if you are elderly, you can keep your mind healthy by exercising it with a good novel. 

Even if you aren't elderly, you can use books at any age to help boost your memory. If you are having a hard time remembering things in your life, reading a book can help you with this. 

Each time you read a novel, your brain remembers all the characters in the book and their relationships to one another. As you remember this information, it helps your short term memory. Each new memory you make creates new brain connections and strengthens existing connections. And, as you read a book, you can mentally pause and think about the plot, which increases your brain activity, keeping your mind sharp.

Helps Stress

Reading a book has been shown to be the best activity you can do to lower your stress levels. A study showed that by reading a book for six minutes reduced the participants' stress levels by 68%. The six minutes of reading allowed the participants to relax their muscles, and slowed down their heart rates.

As life gets busier, it is easy to spend your day multitasking with several different things at once. This is especially true when you have a smartphone providing you with many ways to interact with others. When you read a good novel, you become completely focused on the plot of the book and nothing else. This helps you to forget all other things in your life that are stressing you out.

Be Your Own Personal Therapist

As you go through difficult or challenging times in your life, it can be helpful to learn of another's similar experience and how they dealt with it. When you are going through a divorce, struggling with a health condition, or dealing with a troubled teenager, it can be eye-opening to see how another person reacts and deals with the same situation. When you read a book with a similar plot line to your life, it can be helpful to read about another's experiences.

It can also be helpful to know that other people are going through a situation like yours and you are not the only one in the world dealing with it. This helps you feel not so alone with your circumstances and can give you the hope that you need.

Also, reading self-help books can help you with a mood disorder, with low self-esteem, or to have a better relationship with others.

Empathize Better With Others

A study in 2006 and 2009 found that those who read more fiction are able to show more empathy to others, while those who read more non-fiction show less empathy to other people.

When you read fictional novels about another person, you put yourself in their life and mind throughout the story line. This practice of putting yourself in the shoes of a character in a novel can help you put yourself in the shoes of others around you. You are better able to empathize with them and see things from their perspective. When you can see another's perspective, it can help open you up to new ideas.

When you read books you get a great deal of knowledge and enjoyment while helping to improve your mental health. To learn more or to find the next book for your reading list, visit http://booktrib.com/