- You get to live thousands of lives.
I know it might sound a bit cliché, but in all honesty I feel like I’ve lived so many different lives through the characters of novels that I have read. You get to learn so much about so many different ways of life!
“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” —Joyce Carol Oates
- You’ll become smarter!
Reading is a great way to expand your vocabulary and therefore, a great way to become smarter…or at least you’ll sound smarter!
3. You’ll become more aware of other cultures.
Reading allows you to experience the lives of other people without having actually gone through those experiences yourself. It is a great way to learn about the vast number of cultures in the world which can really help you avoid acting ethnocentric. You start to realize that your culture’s way of doing things is not the only way!
4. You’ll learn to understand the struggles of others.
As most of my readers will probably already know, I am a huge mental health advocate. As such, I believe that reading can be a powerful tool for helping individuals understand mental illness by allowing readers to get a glimpse into the mind of someone with a mental illness. Whether it is an eating disorder, bipolar disorder, suicidal ideation, schizophrenia, or any other mental health issue, books can be a great source for information about the struggles of others.
5. Reading will help you manage your stress and anxiety.
Often the best way to manage stress and anxiety is to remove yourself from the triggers. What better way is there to do that than to launch yourself into someone else’s world for a while and walk in their shoes? Reading can be a great distraction from difficult times in your own life because it essentially allows your mind to become lost in someone else’s world where your own troubles do not exist. This is one of my favorite parts about reading; it’s a great coping skill!
“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.” — Fernando Pessoa
6. Reading is a great way to pass the time.
Feeling bored? Why not pick up a good book and settle in for a nice afternoon or evening of reading? Books are great for so many things; the alleviation of boredom is just one among many great reasons to read!
7. Books are a great conversation starter.
We’ve all been there: we meet someone new but we’re at a loss for words. Awkward silence is uncomfortable to say the least. One great way to avoid this discomfort is to read up on some of the best sellers of the year (or of all time if you’re into the oldies) and get the conversation ball rolling. Even if the other individual hasn’t read the same books as you it can always be a great ice breaker to get the conversation going. Who knows what you could learn about someone else if only you bring up the topic of a good book that you recently read!
- Reading releases pent up emotion.
This one may not be for everyone, but in my case I tend to hold back a lot of negative emotions rather than expressing them. However, when I read a sad book or a book that elicits another ‘negative’ emotion such as anger, it helps me to release my own anger, sadness, etc. This is just one more example of why reading is a great coping skill!
9. Reading can help strengthen your sense of ethics and morality.
If you’ve read any good novels lately, you’ll probably be aware that stories most often have a climax or a problem that must be solved. Reading books allows us to explore issues that we may not otherwise experience which can help us come to an understanding of ethics. Books can be great for providing us with insights about ethical dilemmas and often instigate self-reflective moments where you might wonder what you would do in a similar situation.
10. Reading can give you some perspective on your own issues.
Often when people are going through a tough time they tend to believe that their issues are monumental and that others have life so easy. This is a common—and totally normal—response which tends to involve a lot of self-pity. However, reading about the struggles of others can really help to open your eyes about the heartbreaking and life altering issues that other people are going through. This in turn can help us recognize that we are not alone in our struggles and that there is hope for a brighter future.
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” — W. Somerset Maugham
“We read to know that we are not alone.” —William Nicholson