The next time someone tells you have too many books, tell them you are doing it for your health. Not that this isn’t something every voracious reader doesn’t already know, but there are those that scoff. Who are those people, anyway??!
But it’s true. All kinds of studies have shown that reading is good for you. One of the things that has been studied is whether or not reading fiction can increase the reader’s ability to feel empathy for and greater understand others.
Melanie Green, PhD, a professor at University at Buffalo says that the experience of reading not only allows readers to escape boredom and stress, but also helps with social skills by expanding world views and exposing new cultures. She also found that reading can help satisfy the need for human connection that we all require. (work cited)
A professor at University of Toronto, Keith Oatley, PhD, took it one step further. He believes that because reading teaches about other people and experiences, readers often take on the personality traits of those they read about. In other words, readers change their thinking after gaining a new understanding about people. He and several colleagues conducted a study in which readers read two versions of the same story, one fiction and the other written in a nonfiction style. Those that read the fiction tended to change their thinking more than the nonfiction, also feeling more emotional connection to the characters. (work cited)
Researchers at Yale studied over three thousand people, all over the age of 50. They discovered that those who read books daily for at least 30 minutes had an average increased lifespan of 23 months over those who either didn’t read or read magazines alone. They determined that reading books increases cognitive engagement, keeping the brain active and healthy. (work cited)
And when it comes to reducing stress? According to the University of Sussex… READ! This was the conclusion to a study done by the university. They found that 6 minutes of silent reading slowed heart rates and even eased the tension in muscles up to 68%. Check out their infographic! (work cited)
Bottom line… the next time someone gives you hell about your book “obsession,” tell them it’s prescribed!