Read For A Richer Life

August 14, 2023

Reading gives you a longer life. Reading is tied to developing greater empathy. Reading is linked to better mental health. The ultimate exercise for your mind and your perspective, reading also immerses you in a life other than your own, which is a huge empathy builder.

Seriously…reading leads to a longer life! A recent study conducted at Yale links reading to a longer, more connected life. Brain health is a huge factor, and Yale University found that people who read books live about 23 months longer than those who do not.

Living healthier and longer is the ultimate motivator. Engaging so many parts of the brain at the same time (as we do when reading) on a regular basis gives us better problem solving skills and a clearer understanding of how the world around us functions. 

In this Yale study, it was determined that when reading, “Two key cognitive processes are at play. One is immersive ‘deep reading,’ in which readers draw connections both within the material they’re reading and to the outside world. The second is books’ promotion of ‘empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence,’ all of which can create a survival advantage.”

If we want to be the happiest, most fulfilled versions of ourselves, we should all look to high-quality sources of information for our current events. Intelligently written articles and books on any given subject are more reliable than getting our news from Tik-Toks.

Reading is tied to developing greater empathy. There’s a strong connection between reading and empathy. A study published on Reading Psychology titled “Reading and Empathy” states, “The social implications for a positive relationship between appreciation of reading and aspects of empathy are numerous. Imagining the feelings of members of a different cultural group experiencing racial discrimination and increased compassion afforded through aspects of empathy have been shown to reduce prejudice and discrimination towards stigmatized groups.”

It’s proven that we are more connected to one another when we read, particularly stories and fiction. Many are seeking an enriched social life, and reading is a great way to understand the world and people around us better! This impacts all parts of life, the workplace included. Reading and encouraging staff to read will create a healthier and happier workplace.

The benefits to reading are huge! Humans are hardwired to want to improve our lives, and the absence of purpose is a common cause of depression and anxiety. We each crave purpose, and we should all honor ourselves by identifying which facets of life are most important to us and working toward learning more about them!

When it comes to implementing reading habits, have empathy with yourself. Be kind to yourself. 

You can practice all of the routines and be the most consistent person about all of this on the planet, but if you are being hard on yourself while you embark on your journey of reading more, you won’t have any fun doing it and it will not be as rewarding as it could otherwise be. 

There are vast connections between reading and mental health. 

A study in the Education Journal discusses a report by the National Literacy Trust in Great Britain. It was found, “that children who are the most engaged with reading and writing in their leisure have much better mental wellbeing compared to their least engaged peers.” This study also links reading to resilience. Sp parents, read with your children! Children’s books are fun, and many contain great lessons for both parent and child.

In this data-saturated modern society, we can get the information we need to stay updated on current events from digital sources, particularly the news media and social media. There is a lot of information out there in the form of videos. This is great! Access to seemingly infinite information has been an incredible tool for humanity. Because of digital communication, we’ve had intellectual, cultural, and political revolutions! 

The brain processes videos differently than it processes the written language, and as a result, there are different long term outcomes for the brain. Blue light damages vision over time. When information is presented to us without any exertion necessary on our end, we can turn off a lot of brain function and relax at a deep level. Reading requires effort and attention span, things that have to be practiced through habit. The positives far outweigh the negatives.

Anyone who is interested in reading, as well as those who might be skeptical of the positive effects of reading, this is for you. I’m also writing to those who may have fallen down a rabbit hole of technology addiction. The social media apps we use implement casino psychology to keep us hooked, so it’s understandable that so many put down the books and pick up the remote. We’ve all done it.

There is so much harmful marketing and propaganda on the internet. Even if we think we’re ignoring it, those ads and news stories are making their way into our subconscious regardless!

With reading, we can curate intimate learning experiences for ourselves. We’ll experience better mental health for ourselves and our children, greater empathy for the human community, and maybe even live a longer life. 

Most of all, reading connects us to our humanity. We are storytellers first.

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