With the daily rush of life, it can seem nearly impossible to find the free time to do the things you enjoy. When you happen to get those moments to yourself, it’s usually spent on something like scrolling through TikTok. Reading can seem like a task, and many people probably haven’t chosen to pick up a book in years. But if you can find a book you love (here are some books Penn State students’ recommend) the benefits of reading on your mental health are incredibly beneficial.
When you pick up the right book, your brain takes a trip to a different place outside of reality. When you’re reading, you’re not focusing on work or dealing with the stressors of life. Your body is in a relaxed state, and according to Healthline.com, reading can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
When you pick up a book, your brain is working to process the words and form connections between the information you’ve read and are reading. The networks within your brain are strengthened, as reading is a mentally stimulating activity. By keeping your brain engaged, you are keeping it healthy and preventing early cognitive dysfunction.
The bulk of the words you learn are all obtained by your brain by the end of elementary school! Once you become an adult, your brain isn’t as primed as it was when you were younger. Acquiring new vocabulary doesn’t come as easily. If you engage in reading, you are encountering words that you don’t use every day; as a result, you are forced to learn the meaning of words so that you can understand what you’re reading. By becoming exposed to such a magnitude of words, you are expanding your vocabulary, which can be beneficial in everyday conversation, school and work.
Reading exposes you to a sizable amount of writing styles and words. You see how ideas are organized and how a story is structured and delivered. You learn the meaning of words and how they are used. This allows you to become a better writer, applying tidbits of knowledge from all of the authors you read, building your toolbox of writing skills.
The fictional genre is open to a world of possibilities. Exposure to such unique ideas and techniques for telling stories leaves an impression and can promote greater creativity in the way we think about things and form new ideas.
When you’re forced to read a novel for class, there’s often a lack of care and deep processing. You’re reading because you have to, not because you want to. Being forced to read something, you often tend not to remember the information.
But if you’re engaging in something you like, you’re more likely to remember it. If you find a book about something you take interest in and care about, you’re more likely to soak up what you’re reading and learn. Check out this list of amazing standalone books if you need some ideas!
Reading is an incredible way to keep your brain active and healthy. It helps calm your body, and is the perfect activity to wind-down at the end of the day. The next time you’re tempted to pick up your phone, try picking up a book instead as a simple way to take care of your brain!