Bored and looking for something to do? Don’t have enough free time? Or do you just feel like not going outside for a while?
Pick up a book! It’s easy, cheap, and a fun hobby that gives you so much more than what you put into it.
In fact, here’s why you should start reading a book every day:
1. Fiction makes you nicer.
One study made in 2013 found that participants who read even just the first chapter of a story were found to have a significant increase in empathy a week later, while those who didn’t did not.
Developing emotional intelligence leads to more human interaction, and this increase in emotional intelligence can be aided by taking in “secondhand experiences”, i.e. reading stories about people.
Doing this more lets you relate to people better, and the more you’ll want to keep reading – perhaps the best available “vicious cycle” out there.
2. It builds up cognitive reserve.
Reading pretty much anything that exposes you to new words, phrases, and facts can lead to a mind that’s more resilient and adaptive to damage.
This is what’s known as “cognitive reserve”, and a robust one developed throughout your lifetime can really delay the onset of mental decline. This is why it’s been told that the best preventive measure for Alzheimer’s is simply picking up a book.
3. You learn about more things.
While this is the most obvious reason why you should start doing it, it’s still worth mentioning that reading will give you valuable knowledge and insight you never knew possible, and widen your horizons.
Another joy of reading is learning that you’re not alone in your thoughts and you can literally read what other people all over the world have written down. In many cases, these thoughts have already been penned centuries before you were born.
4. Your conversations will get more interesting.
If you’re looking for a great way for a conversation to last until 2 in the morning, start stocking up on books (though there’s really no need to burn the midnight oil for this).
People who read tend to be better friends and better conversation starters for a few reasons: they’re more willing to listen to you speak, and that they tend to be better at expressing their thoughts.
Aside from not having to talk constantly over one another, you’ll also be clear of any confusion, which will let you keep the conversation flow much better and more smoothly from one topic to the next.
If you have the time to go through your nearest bookstore today, be sure to do it and pick up a book – any book. Sit through it and let yourself take in the words, and you’ll be glad you did.
(Disclaimer: this list is compiled in no particular order.)