Reading Is Beneficial to Both Brain and Body

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The scientists from Oxford University argue that reading books is useful not only for the intellect, but for the general well-being as well – both physical and psychological.

Woman reading a magazine

Professor John Stein says that reading is not just passive following of the plot, but a hard work of imagination: we feel empathy for the characters and go through all ups and downs with them.

Moreover, if one reads about the smell, taste, or pictures of nature, the parts of the brain responsible for the perception of these things begin to work, as if it happens in reality – this is confirmed by the results of the MRI scanning. In this case, if we replace reading by watching TV or computer games, the phenomenon disappears. By the way, six minutes of reading reduce stress levels by two-thirds, helping to cope with stress even better than walks in nature or music. Thus beneficence of reading for physical and mental health is proved.

It is important to instill a love of reading books from childhood: the earlier people learn to read great and important literary works, the faster the brain develops the skill of building long chains of cause-and-effect relationships. In the future, it will bring benefits in terms of mental discipline, such as the ease of long-term planning and management of long conversations on the same topic.