Five reasons reading can make you happier

Many of us read on a daily basis.

Whether we are reading a note from a co-worker or catching up on some academic readings for school, reading is unavoidable and it is part of human culture.

Besides gaining knowledge from books, reading can make a person happier. Here are five reasons (scientifically-proven) why reading can make you feel happier.

1.  Reading is a good exercise for the brain 

When we read texts, our brain goes into what scientists call a “cognitive cravings.” It is when our brain focuses on “(imagining) other people’s mental experiences – and the centrality of doing so to navigate social relations.” Dr Lisa Zunchine, author of Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel, explains that when we read novels, we enter into a zone where we are imagining what the characters are imagining and this cognitive exercise pushes the brain to analysis and process a lot more information and emotions. It’s a good workout for the brain.

2.  Learn and see life in a different light

Learning to think in different perspectives allows us to be less tunnel-vision and more resilient to change and challenges. Siri Hustvedt, a renowned researcher in the field of Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience and  the author of The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves , argues that different styles of narrations expose unfamiliar thought styles to our brain, which triggers new ideas and new ways of understanding our surroundings. Ultimately it leads to new ways of thinking and living that strives for a happier lifestyle.

3.  Helps you sleep better

Reading a boring book can immediately burden your eyelids, however, the act of reading, boring or interesting, can help your body and mind relax and reduce stress. Dr. Emer Macsweeney, a neuroradiologist consultant, suggests people should do some reading before going to bed because it helps the brain unwind and prepare the body for sleep. A good sleep is the start to a brighter tomorrow.

4.  A form of escapism and reduces stress

You know you are reading a good book when you are turning page after page at a fast steady pace. A good book provides a form of escapism because it allows you to experience a whole new world, and the act of losing yourself in a book actually helps lower cortisol levels, a primary stress hormone. In simpler terms, reading helps reduce our stress hormone. Who doesn’t want a stress-free life!

5.  Book Club with your friends

Get a friend, find a book that both of you want to read, and call each other and talk about the book while enjoying your favourite drink or a nice cup of tea. Laugh and rage through your way with your buddy and you will be a lot happier and cheerful after each session.

Here are some inspirational books and a handful of awesome book recommendations that will take you from reality into the reader’s world:

The Reading Life

 Shaking Things Up 

Beach Read

Big Summer

City of Girls

Daisy Jones & the Six

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