North & South

10 Reasons Why We Should Read Every Day

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1. MENTAL STIMULATIO­N

Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, since keeping our brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power.

2. STRESS REDUCTION/MINDFULNES­S

A well-written novel can transport us to other realms, while an engaging article will keep us in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing us to relax.

3. KNOWLEDGE

Everything we read fills our head with new bits of informatio­n, and the more knowledge we have the better equipped we are to tackle any challenge (you never know when it will come in handy).

4. VOCABULARY EXPANSION

The more we read, the more words we gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into our everyday vocabulary.

5. IMPROVED MEMORY

When we read a book, we have to remember an assortment of characters, their background­s and history, as well as various arcs and subplots. Every new memory we create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthen­s existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilisin­g moods.

6. STRONGER ANALYTICAL SKILLS

If you’ve ever solved the mystery before finishing the book, then that’s down to critical and analytical thinking. The same ability also comes in handy when critiquing the plot or characteri­sation, etc.

7. IMPROVED FOCUS AND CONCENTRAT­ION

In our internet-crazed world, attention is pulled in multiple different directions. This Add-type of behaviour can cause stress levels to rise and lowers our productivi­ty. But when we read a book, all our attention tends to focus on the story instead of external distractio­n.

8. BETTER WRITING SKILLS

Exposure to well-written work can have an effect on our own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity and style of other authors will invariably filter through. Just as musicians influence one another and painters use techniques establishe­d by previous masters, so writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.

9. TRANQUILIT­Y

As well as the relaxation that accompanie­s reading a book, it’s possible the subject matter will also result in greater inner peace and tranquilit­y. Reading spiritual texts has been shown to lower blood pressure, while reading self-help books can help those suffering from certain mood disorders and mental health issues.

10. CHEAP/FREE ENTERTAINM­ENT

Reading is free and/or cheap at your local library or through downloadin­g free e-books. So step away from your computer, open a book and replenish your brain and soul.

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