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  • Susannah Money-Schenk

Why should we be Reading More?

I don't mean reading a Facebook post, I mean reading a book!

One of the habits from my 30-Day Challenge is to read 10 pages of a book a day.

Here is why I'd like you to ditch the scrolling through social media for an actual, physical book:

1. Reading develops the mind. Think of the mind as a muscle. It needs regular exercise like any other muscle of the body. When we are scrolling through Facebook are we actually reading? Or skimming through looking for the odd word or picture that captures our attention? Can you actually recall half of the posts that you have scrolled by?

2. Speaking of recall - Reading helps to improve our short-term memory. When reading a book we have to remember characters, the main plot and subplots as we go through. This helps to develop and strength our short term memory.

Did you know: Elderly patients who read books are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's?

3. Reading can reduce stress. Have you ever found yourself so immersed in a book that the day's stresses are temporarily forgotten? A good book can help reduce the stress in our lives by letting us escape them!

Did you know: Reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. This is more than taking a walk, having a cup of tea or listening to music!

4. Reading can develop social skills. It introduces us to different personality traits, beliefs and mental states. This enables us to interact with different types of people in the real world.

5. The more you read, the more words you will be exposed to. This can actually make you more successful!

Did you know: The average person reads 1-3 books a year. CEOs read on average 60 books a year!

6. Reading enhances the brain connectivity and function. Reading fiction helps readers to put themselves in another’s shoes. It grows our imagination, enhances the brain’s resting-state connectivity and over-all function.

Did you know: Thinking about an activity we are reading about helps to activate the neurons that actually carry out that activity. E.g. Thinking about running can activate our running neurons.

7. Reading can helps us to promote sleep. Turning off your phone and picking up a book before bed helps to create a calming bedtime routine. It signals to your brain it is time to wind down.

8. Reading improves our attention span. Reading books helps our brains to think in sequence. This is different to reading online where we jump from detail to detail. It helps us to maintain attention on one thing - the storyline!

So why pick up a physical book instead of a tablet or our phones?

1. Reading a physical book allows you to see your progress. There's nothing like the feeling of achievement when you turn that last page!

2. Books don't emit blue-light which can interrupt our sleep patterns.

3. It is too easy to skim read an ebook. Physical books help to slow us down and absorb the words.

4. Physical books have no distractions such as links or ads.

5. Physical books reduce the risk of eye strain associated with ebooks. Despite most e-readers having anti-glare screens, a physical book is much easier to read.

6. Books feel amazing! They are tactile, have weight to them and texture. All these things provide important sensory input to the brain.

7. Books don't need batteries, charging or WiFi!

8. Real books have that book smell - an e-reader could never have that!

Now I'm not slamming ereaders at all - they definitely have a place. Whether it is to reduce the weight of your suitcase, or to be able to read with a bigger font. The most important thing is making time to read away from the internet and social media. So go grab that book you started last year but never finished. Challenge yourself to read 10 pages a day and see how quickly that becomes chapters!



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