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Reading more in 2020 offers wide-ranging benefits

A popular New Year’s resolution is to watch less television and read more books. Reading offers a number of benefits according to a story on Beliefnet.

Reading is fun. One of the main reasons to read is simply because it’s enjoyable. Readers can take themselves to far-off fantasy lands or immerse themselves in the lives of their favorite historical characters.

Reading builds knowledge. The more knowledge someone has, the better-equipped they are to tackle any challenge they will face. A study by Stanford in 2012 reported that reading is truly an “exercise of people’s brains.” Reading a novel, for example, increases blood flow and improves connectivity in the brain.

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Reading improves conversational skills. Because reading increases vocabulary and knowledge of how to correctly use new words, reading helps people clearly articulate what they want to say. Talking to people who also read frequently is more enjoyable. Conversations tend to be deeper and more meaningful.

Reading reduces stress. A study by consultancy firm Mindlab International at the University of Sussex showed that reading reduces stress. Subjects only needed to read silently for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles. The more someone reads, the lower their overall stress levels will be from day to day.

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Reading boosts problem-solving skills. Analytical and critical thinking are stimulated by reading. Reading helps detect patterns, solve problems and assimilate new information as if the reader were living in the characters’ shoes.

Readers grow as people.study by the University of Toronto asked readers about their views on their own personality before and after reading fiction and non-fiction texts. Keith Oatley, a psychologist and one of the study’s authors, said, “As you identify with another person, a protagonist in the story, you enter into a piece of life that you wouldn’t otherwise have known. You have emotions or circumstances that you wouldn’t have otherwise understood.”

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Reading improves concentration. When someone reads a book, all of their attention gets focused completely on the story. They are forced to focus on each word, rather than skim a web page or social media post. By doing this, their brain forms deep connections to the plot and book, all while practicing concentration.

Reading improves writing. When someone reads, their brain absorbs good writing techniques and vocabulary without even realizing it. In their own writing, they will then unconsciously copy the writing styles of books that held their attention.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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