5 Ways reading can Improve your Wellbeing
It’s National Book Lover’s Day on August 9th, which is the perfect time to talk about how reading can improve your wellbeing.
As a Healthcare Professional dealing with certain stresses and strains that are an inevitable part of your work, finding ways to wind down and improve your wellbeing is important. In this blog, we explore how reading helps do this.
Reading… Reduces stress
We’ve all heard of the phrase, ‘getting lost in a good book’ and this is evident in the way that reading can help you focus on a single, enjoyable task that takes you away into a whole new world… and away day-today worries, issues and stresses. This in turn increases relaxation (by easing tension in your muscles and slowing down your heart rate), stabilises mood and reduces stress.
Take a look at this article by Brighton based newspaper The Argus, that points to a study by the University of Sussex that suggests even six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by more than two thirds.
Reading… Stimulates the mind and improves your memory
Your brain, just like your body, needs ‘exercise’ and mental stimulation to stay healthy and, there have been numerous studies – such as this one by JAMA Psychiatry – that explore how the intellectual activity of reading may help delay or even prevent dementia in older adults. A similar study by Neurology Education called ‘Life-span cognitive activity, neuropathologic burden, and cognitive aging’ also found that the rate of mental decline was reduced by 32% when people participated in reading, writing and other activities later on in life.
By stimulating the brain, you’re also helping improve your memory (long and short-term) as reading a book gives you new things to remember, which it does by forging new synapses and pathways, while strengthening existing ones.
Reading… helps you empathise with others
Known as the theory of the mind, empathy is all about understanding others’ mental states and research indicates that people who read literary fiction (stories that explore the inner lives of characters) show a heightened ability to understand someone else’s beliefs, feelings and thoughts. Further research also shows that people exposed to fiction can predict the results of an empathy task far easier and quicker than those who don’t read regularly.
Reading… can make you smarter
There has been plenty of research, such as this paper by PubMed, to show that reading does make us smarter and that, being exposed to more written information is linked to having higher vocabulary, general knowledge and verbal skills. Another interesting study by PubMed on the influence of reading also discovered that above-average readers experienced a higher rate of vocabulary growth than average readers. These results strongly suggest that the earlier you begin a reading habit, the stronger your vocabulary will be, which may lead to a greater intellect.
Reading… Improves concentration
It is fair to say that we live in a world where distractions – from our phones and social media for example – are always there, which means it is more important than ever to find ways to focus our minds. Reading does this by forcing our brain to focus on one thing, and this repetition trains the brain to avoid distractions, as well as strengthening your ability to process data through concentration.
We hope our blog on reading to improve your mental wellbeing has given you some insights into the benefits of picking up a book, which can be an especially good way to relax after a long shift.
At ID Medical, the wellbeing of our Healthcare Professionals is so important to us, which is why, we strongly support having a work-life balance, and our wide range of opportunities, with hours and shifts to suit your lifestyle can help give you that and more. For more information, please get in touch. Our specialist Recruitment Consultants would love to help you find roles and shifts that fit around your needs, with dedicated 1-2-1 support and guidance at every step of the way!