In today’s digital age, it may seem difficult or inconvenient to unplug from your smartphone devices and pick up a book or magazine. However, reading has a myriad of benefits that have been shown to significantly improve things like concentration, memory retention, and vocabulary.
Want to learn about how you can improve your life by reading, the value of new vs. used books, and more? Keep reading!
Are books worth the money?
Books are still worth the money. The benefits of reading can far outweigh the costs associated with purchasing or renting books. Benefits include improved concentration, increased vocabulary, and much more!
Books Reduce Stress
One downside of existing in today’s digitally-connected age is that you are constantly being pulled in different directions by your phone, TV, or tablet – often at the same time.
Research has shown that the short bursts of attention that occur when you look at your device when multitasking (e.g. watching a TV show while on our phones or checking our emails while working) can increase your stress levels.
According to the World Literacy Foundation, simply opening a book and reading can change your mind and stress levels for the better by decreasing blood pressure and lowering your heart rate.
It’s also been shown that reading works better and faster than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of tea. Therefore, cultivating a daily habit of reading and incorporating it into a long-term lifestyle can do wonders for your overall well-being.
Reading Books is Good for Your Brain
Did you know that reading has the potential to strengthen and improve neural connections in your brain?
Researchers at Emory University have found that the storytelling aspect of a novel enhances connectivity in the areas of the brain associated with communication, language, and sensory motion. In fact, the increased neural connections observed by the researchers persisted days after the study participants’ reading session!
Not only does reading improve the neural connections in your brain, but it can also prevent the onset of age-related cognitive decline. Studies have shown that senior citizens who read (and complete other mentally stimulating activities such as solving math problems every day) improve and maintain efficient cognitive functioning.
Your Vocabulary Will Increase
Having a large vocabulary can help you to succeed in various areas, such as on standardized tests, college admissions, job opportunities. In fact, a 2019 poll conducted by Cengage showed that employers are looking to hire people with “soft” skills, such as the ability to communicate effectively.
What better way to improve in the aforementioned areas than by picking up your favorite book? Reading books is an easy and productive way to expose yourself to new words and their usages.
To maximize your exposure to new words, it is recommended that you read books across different genres (i.e. non-fiction, historical fiction, etc.) to broaden your vocabulary.
The More You Read, the More You Know
In 2011 alone, the United States published almost 300,000 books! This staggering number highlights that there is a book on virtually any topic you’re interested in.
Armed with the power of information, you are able to improve your life as well as the lives of the people around you. In your day-to-day life, you can confidently enter any professional, personal, or intellectual conversation armed with the relevant information you’ve picked up from simply reading!
Books Improve Your Concentration
Often, we are mindlessly tuned in to visual media (think TV shows, YouTube videos, etc.) due to their ease and convenience. However, the activity of reading has the unique ability to keep you focused. This is because reading is not a passive activity. When you read, you are engaging in a form of communication with the words in front of you that requires you to engage your imagination.
The next time you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or need a break from your devices, try picking up a book and reading to calm your mind and practice your concentration skills.
Books Are a Great Source of Entertainment
For people who may be going through a tough time in their life, reading can help to take their minds away from the issues or ailments plaguing them. This is because many people feel as though they are able to leave the circumstance which they are in by immersing themselves in the worlds offered to them by books.
The above notion is supported by Healthline, which says that for people who are suffering from depression, “reading fiction can allow you to temporarily escape your own world and become swept up in the imagined experiences of the characters” and “nonfiction self-help books can teach you strategies that may help you manage symptoms.”
What Should I Read?
Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits that can be achieved through reading, you may be asking yourself “Well, what should I read?” The answer depends on what your goals are. As mentioned previously, you can find a book on virtually any topic.
You may be a career professional who is looking to expand your knowledge in your area of work. You can expand your professional horizon by reading books about your specific craft, business practices, economics, or entrepreneurship.
Self-improvement is a huge sector in the book industry. According to Market Research, the self-improvement book sector is an $800 million market that’s growing 6% per year. There is a plethora of self-improvement books you can pick up to help you improve your personal or professional life, ranging from weight loss to spirituality.
Fiction is another popular genre. For the escapist reasons mentioned in the previous section, fiction is a favorite for the way that books in this genre can expand your mind and engage your creative imagination.
Is it Better to Buy Books New or Used?
There are a number of reasons why you could opt to buy new or used books. A big upside to buying used books is that they’re often cheaper and more affordable than buying brand new. In addition, people often buy used books because it’s an eco-friendly practice that reduces the manufacturing waste associated with printing and buying new books.
If you like to read frequently, try buying used books, checking books out of the library, or loaning books from your friends in order to maintain your reading habit without breaking the bank.
But what if you like to buy new books? You’re not alone. A large majority of people prefer to buy new books for their novelty; which comes with the freedom to mark books up or add books to a personal collection
Our technologically advanced world adds another layer to the age-old question of used vs. new. With the advancement of audiobooks and E-books in recent years, you now have the option of using your smartphone or device as a portable book.
If you have a particularly active lifestyle, audiobooks or E-books may be right for you as you have the freedom to read practically anywhere without having to lug your books around.
When Are Books NOT Worth the Money?
Books are valuable assets that are often always worth the money. As we’ve explored above, reading books doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. However, the information, ideas, words, and principles you are exposed to by reading is priceless.
To sum it up, reading will not go out of style in 2021. In fact, access to books will likely continue to get easier due to technological innovations that allow you to take books with you anywhere through your smart device via audiobooks or E-books. Books offer you the power of information, which can be used to improve virtually any area of your life.