Here at Kwik Brain, we believe leaders are readers. When you read a book, you can take decades of knowledge and learn the same lessons in a matter of days. That’s why cultivating a daily reading habit is so important. And when you increase your reading speed, you not only improve your productivity, but will see important benefits to other areas of your daily life as well.
Reading improves your creativity and imagination
When you read, you use your imagination. When you’re immersed in new characters and worlds, you exercise your imagination. And using your imagination daily sparks creativity. This helps you see the world through a new lens, helping you become more open-minded.
Creativity and imagination help you look at problems differently, which then improves your problem-solving and decision-making abilities. And because reading is a whole brain exercise, it helps keep your cognitive processes working at optimal levels.
You expand your vocabulary
The more books you read, the more words you’re exposed to. By reading the context of these new vocabulary words, you learn where, when, and how to use them, so you’re able to apply them to more situations. This enables you to express yourself and your ideas in clear, concise ways. As you improve your ability to communicate with others, you build deeper and more meaningful relationships in all areas of your life.
Your knowledge increases
Reading broadens your understanding of history, economics, current events, cuisine, culture, politics, and more. Even fiction raises awareness and can teach you something new. Whenever you come across a new idea or perspective, you can research the areas you’re unfamiliar with. This expands your worldview, general knowledge, and can lead to surprising discoveries as you learn fascinating unknown facts and concepts. Novels, articles, newspapers, magazines, and even recipes, reading provides a wealth of information.
Your memory can improve
As we mentioned, reading is a whole brain exercise. That means when you read, you engage multiple areas of your brain at the same time. This improves fluency, comprehension, awareness, visual and auditory processes, and more.
In addition, reading activates your working memory. As you read, you keep track of plots, dialogue, characters, and more. When you return to reading after taking a break, you exercise your memory as you recall what happened previously in the book. And when you put the book down, the story stays in your active in your brain until you’re finished with the book. You think about what happened and speculate on what might happen next, sharpening your deductive reasoning and logical thinking.
Consistency and self-discipline improve
The average attention span is getting shorter. Technology and media have decreased the average attention span to 47 seconds. That’s down almost an entire minute and a half in less than twenty years. But reading can increase your attention span, which then increases your ability to concentrate and focus on other tasks.
When you sit down to read a book, you’re committing to hundreds of pages. You know you will not get through the content in minutes, and by sitting down to read every day, you’re exercising your focus and concentration. To fully understand the story, you have to finish the book. Studies show reading strengthens the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. These are the areas of the brain where concentration, focus, planning, attention, and decision-making take place.
Reading novels for enjoyment is an excellent way to relax. Studies show that reading for thirty minutes can reduce stress significantly. In fact, it has the same effect on stress as doing yoga. Your heart-rate decreases, your muscles relax, and your breathing evens out while you read. This helps lower anxiety and can help you become more productive for the rest of your day.
Studies also show that reading increases your emotional intelligence and empathy. While this on its own may not reduce stress, it helps form deeper emotional bonds with people around you. One recent study showed how community bonds and social support helps instances of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.
Increase your skills in any area of interest
In any specific field of interest, reading can help improve your success. Subject matter experts take their years of expertise and condense it into chapters, allowing you to learn from their experiences, acquired knowledge, and mistakes. That allows you to build on their foundation to come up with ideas on how you can best apply that knowledge to increase your capabilities successfully.
Become a better writer
Every time you read, you’re taking in sentence structure, word use, grammar, and vocabulary. Unconsciously, you’re gaining insight into how to create sentences, paragraphs, and chapters in your own writing. The more you read and the more you practice writing, the faster you’ll develop your own voice, style, and creative storytelling.
Improved problem-solving and cognitive processing
Reading helps you detect patterns, assimilate information, and solve problems. One study out of the Washington University in St. Louis showed reading activates seventeen different areas of the brain. But they aren’t active at the same time, and the level of activation changes as you develop.
Researchers at the Emory University in Atlanta found that reading novels changes your brain—even after you’re done reading. The neural networks that activate while reading stay active for up to five days after you finish a novel. This might not seem like a long time, but if you’re consistently reading, you’re constantly lighting up those networks. This enhances overall brain performance that extends into other tasks and, over time, develops into a wide range of cognitive capabilities.
The brain benefits of reading are truly limitless. You learn more about yourself and the world around you, often while visiting fantastical places that spark your imagination. It’s possible to build empathy, improve your concentration and focus, reduce your stress, and it’s one of the best whole brain exercises you can do. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a book today!
If you want to learn how to read faster and remember more, visit http://kwikbrain.com for more information on our revolutionary Kwik Brain accelerated learning programs.
And if you want to learn how to read a book a week, watch this video: