How Reading Books Make You Smarter

Insaf Ali

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Throughout our lives, we have been told that reading is an important skill to have in this world and that’s obviously true. We have also been taught that reading specifically from books is the most beneficial thing you can do.

Especially in the modern world, with TV, movies, video games, and even the internet taking up our time as entertainment. BUT, is this really true?

One benefit that reading books can do is increase your IQ, specifically memory, concentration, vocabulary, imagination, and overall knowledge.

If you ever read a book, you’ll know it requires patience, concentration, and thinking to comprehend the information in the book. So, this should be no surprise.

There was a study done in 2009, by Carnegie Mellon University, that examined 72 children ages eight to ten where they discovered that reading creates new white matter in the brain.

So overall, reading is definitely a more active endeavor that has the potential to improve you compared to just watching movies and TV shows, and with that in mind, reading can potentially even fight Alzheimer’s disease and other mental illnesses that come from the lack of mentally stimulating activities.

Reading can also make you more empathetic, specifically fiction. These types of books have the power for the reader to understand the characters due to the author’s writing explaining how the characters think and feel. So, from the mental and emotional aspects, reading will definitely improve you.

Note that the type of book being read matters; for example, a highly intelligent person reading a picture book isn’t going to see benefits in regards to obtaining more intelligence.

Another benefit is that reading can also improve your writing and communication skills due to seeing how the author of a certain book writes and style the attempts to communicate the information in the best way.

Now, this does not mean that reading a single book will change your writing or communication style overnight, but over the long term, it can subconsciously implant new techniques that make us think in a different way.

As I said previously, reading requires memorizing and visualizing words into images which can help you understand new vocabulary and ideas, so why should writing and communication be any different?

Another benefit is reading can help you sleep better, especially if you read before you sleep. This is because your mind relaxes the muscles and your heart rate drops when you read a good book.

Books also do not emit blue light unlike screens, which further encourages you to sleep. Since reading a good book is relaxing, another benefit is that reading can also reduce stress in your life.

A study at the University of Sussex found that reading reduced stress levels by 68 percent while music reduced it by 61 percent, consuming tea and coffee reduced it by 54 percent, and taking a long walk reduced it by 42 percent.

Again, this makes sense because your mind has to focus on converting words to the imagination, so those depressing thoughts will be mentally put aside to focus on that task.

Now that you understand the benefits of our reading, I want you to also understand that reading through physical books is where you’ll see the most benefits, not eBooks.

The obvious being that physical books will not contribute as much eyestrain as electronic screens will, especially during nighttime where screens emit blue light that discourages sleeping.

EBooks also have distractions that limit information retention and cause you to physically want to skim the pages. This can be linked to content outside the e-book, device and application notification, etc.

The biggest advantage of all is that you do not need electricity to read. So you can read anywhere at any time, even during a zombie apocalypse.

EBooks do have their advantages, especially with storage. If you can only use an eBook, that’s fine, but just know that there are times what’s best to have a physical book rather than a digital one.

So now you know books are actually beneficial for you and you should be reading something every day.

Again, I want to emphasize that reading something will not improve your life overnight and will not solve every problem. It’s over the long term when it becomes a habit, to the point where it’s changed your brain’s neural pathways, is where you’ll see something.

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