This video has been making the rounds on the Internet lately because every time his mom finishes reading him a book, the little fellow in the starring role is devastated — he absolutely falls apart. I mean, every. Single. Time. As soon as he hears those fateful words, “The end,” he’s eager to find the next book.
It’s like he already knows on some primal level that reading has been scientifically proven to have long-term benefits for all of us — physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The act of interpreting and comprehending letters and shapes to form an idea or an image in your mind really is the equivalent of mental exercise. And like keeping your body in shape, it pays off in the long run. Frequent reading not only improves your short- and long-term memory, but it also helps your brain fight the effects of aging, which in turn can prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Reading scores well above TV-watching for relaxation, especially if you’re reading in print. Studies show that just six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. Your stress levels will go down even more if you read before bed instead of staring at a screen. And while lower stress is good for you in and of itself, there’s also the added bonus that it helps you maintain a healthy blood pressure. All because of books!
The more you interact with printed words, the more likely you are to increase your vocabulary, strengthen neural connectivity, and generally improve your comprehension skills — which in turn can help you get ahead in your career. This is especially true for children like our Bookworm Baby, as numerous studies have shown that early reading skills correlate with higher intelligence later in life.
Simply put, books contribute to a greater quality of life by boosting creativity and encouraging people to be more culturally engaged. Even if you’re someone who’s not into that snooty intellectual stuff, reading can still dramatically increase your capacity for empathy and aid in the overall therapeutic process of life — two factors that will absolutely, positively make you a better and happier person. Plus (and I say this with all personal bias aside) it’s been proven to make you objectively more attractive, which is a nice little bonus that I think we all could benefit from.