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5 benefits of reading, most of which are proven by science

5 benefits of reading, most of which are proven by science

Those who read tend to have a more developed vocabulary. Literature too Able to take us to places we never imagined going. But these are just some of the typical characteristics of an avid reader. Now, various studies have proven How reading more can provide many health benefits.

Specialists at various educational and research institutions around the world have conducted studies revealing the health benefits of reading more, many of which are truly surprising. While the effects on creativity seem more obvious, other aspects such as increased life expectancy seem more unexpected.

1. Reading makes you more empathetic

Reading fictional stories can increase our empathy. (Source: Unsplash / Reproduction)

Empathy is the ability of humans to recognize another person and feel what they feel. In one study, researchers from Harvard University noted that reading more increases the ability to empathize.

By conducting a study with a group of volunteer readers of fiction and nonfiction, they found that fiction readers (of a wide variety of genres) improved performance on tasks such as predicting how characters would behave and identifying emotions encoded in facial expressions.

According to research leader David Kidd, “dealing with micro-personalities makes us treat people in the real world with more care and humility.”

2. Reading books increases life expectancy

(Source: Unsplash/Reproduction)
Studies confirm that reading more increases an individual's life expectancy. (Source: Unsplash / Reproduction)

In addition to exercising your body, stimulating your mind with daily doses of reading can lengthen your life. This statement comes from research conducted by scientists at Yale University. They followed more than 3,600 adults over the age of 50 over a period of 12 years. They discovered that individuals who read books for at least 30 minutes a day live about two years longer than those who read magazines or newspapers.

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According to the study, reading for at least 3:30 a week reduces the probability of death by 23%, while reading less than that leads to only a 17% decrease in the probability of death.

3. Reading expands your knowledge of the world and your language skills

(Source: Unsplash/Reproduction)
Reading more increases vocabulary and makes us know more about facts. (Source: Unsplash / Reproduction)

It is known that people who read more have larger vocabularies. Dozens of studies conducted since the 1990s attest to this statement, linking reading to cognitive skills, increased vocabulary, and factual knowledge. Reading can increase these skills by up to 50%.

According to researchers at the University of Maryland, reading develops the brain like a snowball effect: the more and better you read, the more things you learn; The more you learn, the better you will read, even things that are outside your scope of expertise.

4. Reading reduces stress

(Source: Unsplash/Reproduction)
One of the great benefits of reading more is reducing stress levels. (Source: Unsplash / Reproduction)

Among the many already known benefits of reading more, lower stress levels stand out. In 2009, a team of researchers from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom conducted a study in which they evaluated the extent to which different activities could reduce stress. To do this, they measured heart rate and muscle tension.

They found in the results that reading a book or newspaper for a period equivalent to 6 minutes is able to reduce stress levels by up to 68%. The result was greater than that observed among people who walked (42%), drank coffee or tea (54%), or listened to music (61%).

According to the study's authors, reading keeps individuals immersed in the content and completely distracted from the outside world, making reading one of the most effective ways to reduce stress.

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5. Reading helps you improve as a person

(Source: Unsplash/Reproduction)
Reading increases the ability to self-reflect. (Source: Unsplash / Reproduction)

It is difficult for a person to recognize the changes and developments that occur in the personality, but what science has previously determined is the ability of reading fictional works to bring about this transformation. In a study conducted by the University of Toronto, 166 people filled out questionnaires about emotions and key personality traits.

Next, they had half the group read a short story by Anton Chekhov, while the other half read a non-fiction story. Again, everyone was asked to answer the same questionnaire.

The result showed that those who read Chekhov's story changed their outlook on life significantly, while others did not undergo this self-reflection.