5 ways reading can improve your life

Guinness Care News Article - 1 August 2018
5 ways reading can improve your life

As Dr Seuss once wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go”.

There are so many wonderful reasons to dip into a good book.  For starters, reading books lets you leave your daily life behind and immerse yourself in a world of new found adventures. You can travel, meet new people and step out of your comfort zone. Reading can help you gain more perspective on the life you are living.  But there are so many more benefits… read on for more reasons to read!

1. Improve your vocabulary

Reading challenges us to improve our language skills because we expand our vocabulary when we come across unfamiliar words. Reading is also a great way to communicate more effectively, whether orally or in writing.  So you’re reading a story in which the hero is a boy playing marbles with his friends.  The book tells us that he has an abundance of marbles due to his talent and ability to win.  You may not have encountered the word ‘abundance’ before, but you now have a good idea what it means.

2. Develop a stronger sense of empathy

It may not always be easy to relate to characters and the situations they’re in, but if the stories are told in a way that can appeal to your imagination, then you’re learning and developing!  You might sympathise with characters you never imagined you would feel for.  You may realise that you share similar struggles with others, and this realisation can lead to more empathy towards friends, loved ones… even enemies.  Developing a stronger capacity for empathy gives your own life more depth and colour.

3. Improve your mood

Whether it’s a novel about a volatile political situation or a self-help book on recovering from the pain of a broken heart, books remind us that we’re not journeying through this life alone, and that we can learn and grow from sharing our stories and experiences with one another. The chance to escape from our own daily existence and inhabit another reality gives us space to adjust our take on our personal circumstances.  This in turn can lead to mental relaxation and a heightened sense of perspective on our own issues.

4. Foster new friendships

Participating in a book club, and coming together to read and share your thoughts, often allows us to open up and talk about our own stories. The common connection of a reading group can create the bond that builds friendships and binds them together. It doesn’t have to be complicated; just sitting in the work canteen with colleagues at lunchtime to discuss the latest read can inspire rewarding new relationships.

5. Expand your imagination

Unlike watching television, reading encourages you to create the imagery yourself.  It’s your internal landscape to populate as you see fit, and your imagination designs each character’s exact appearance, accent and even walking style. Reading can expand your mental horizons and allow you to consider what is possible, both in your own life and in the wider world around you.