At some point, we’ve read a book whose story has stayed with us.  We’ve had a reading experience that has shown us that magic can exist within the pages of books; magic that transports us from our real-world lives.

Reading serves to enrich us in many ways; knowledge, adventure, empathy, and escape are just a few.  Reading is my great escape.  When I need to clear my mind or recharge, I cosy up with a good book.  In fact, I read every night before going to sleep.  Reading has been successful in taking care of silencing my brain chatter and helping me sleep soundly.

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My daily reading habit has undeniable positive effects on my state of mind and contributes to the quality of my life.  For this reason, I’m certain another way reading enriches our lives is as a health benefit.

It turns out there really is something to this.  Here are two proven health benefits of reading and all the reason you need to start a daily reading habit.

Stress Reduction

There’s nothing quite like reading to take your mind off the stresses of your life.  You may already be doing this but if you need some incentive Mindlab International at the University of Sussex completed research in stress reduction which showed that of all the activities you can do to relieve stress (listening to music, having a cup of tea/coffee, taking a walk, playing video games), reading worked the best.  It reduced stress by 68% and you can do this by reading for as little as 6 minutes.


“Subjects only needed to read, silently, for six minutes to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles, he [Dr David Lewis] found.  In fact it got subjects to stress levels lower than before they started.”

“Dr Lewis, who conducted the test, said: “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation.”

You can read more about these findings in this Telegraph article.  If considerable stress reduction in today’s high-pressure world isn’t bonus enough, reading has another high-value health benefit.

Longevity

Yale University’s recent study: ‘A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity’, which used data from 3635 people over the age of 50, found that reading books for about 3 and a half hours or more per week can afford you the benefit of living longer.  You can read more in this NYT article.


“Book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than those who did not read at all.”

Reading books forces you to clear your mind and concentrate on something other than your bad day, your to-do list, or your problems.  It requires you to immerse yourself in a conscious and enjoyable activity.  It is both brain exercise and play.

If you don’t already read books daily let the benefits of stress reduction and longevity be your incentive to start a routine that will also bring a great deal of pleasure to your life.

And once you’re hooked, the good news is you have an extra two years to read all the books you’ve ever wanted to read but didn’t think you had time for.

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