What Reading Teaches Your Mind

November 19, 2018

Fall is here and that means it is time to break out the blankets, warm socks, and that book that you've been waiting to read. The time taken to slow down and ignite the creative side of your mind can be extremely beneficial for your mental health. Don't believe me? Keep reading. 





It's no secret that reading is helpful. However, when it comes to mental health, reading is especially important. It may seem like a bit of a stretch, especially when it comes to reading fantasy. How can that be important? Why do fiction books need to exist if everything in them is fake? Well, let's discuss that. As an avid supporter of academia and education, I understand the importance of always learning. But, I think there is a lot that can be learned from stories, even the fiction ones. 



Reading from a character's perspective, seeing thoughts that are not your own can be an excellent tool to learning how other people think and feel. This gives you a first hand opportunity to experience everything with the character. While the dragons, magic, and villains may not be real, the emotions are. In every book, the emotions are the same. That is the reason people crave to read, is to feel connection to someone other than yourself. To love a world, to cry with a character, to smile when they win. These skills can be transferred to real life when it comes to experiencing those emotions with other people. This is a lesson that is hard to teach without examples. That's what the books provide, endless examples of people to love with problems to solve. 



Life is hard. You don't get things you wanted. You don't keep things you earned. You lose people you love. All of that is draining. And if a big tragedy hasn't happened to you yet, then you get to deal with the monotonous every day of life. No matter what, there are struggles. Books give the readers a chance to forget their real life and live somewhere else for a little while.


This is also the biggest criticism that readers get, that they avoid dealing with life. I think the exact opposite is happening. The readers are learning to deal with life by taking a break and figuring out what they need to do next.  



This may come as a shock, but people that read tend to sleep better. Especially those that read right before going to sleep. This is proven because it gives the brain a moment to detach and review the day subconsciously, allowing the conscious mind to focus on winding down for the night. It doesn't have to be reading. Any activity that disengages you from the rest of the day, reading is just one of the most common. So, if you're having trouble sleeping, try cracking a book before you go to bed. 



In books, the relationships are made up. In some books, it is super obvious that these relationships could not exist. However, in most books, the relationships attempt to model real life. This can be a great way to learn how successful relationships work, or see how certain scenarios can play out in your own life. 


Reading doesn't have to be all non-fiction to teach you things. Those fairies and witches can teach a person plenty of valuable lessons and improve their overall mental health.


What criticisms have you heard about reading?

What would your own response be?




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Copyright Angie Day



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