Reading is the perfect recipe for solace – Deccan Chronicle

Wednesday, Oct 13, 2021 | Last Update : 01:43 AM IST
From making one more empathetic, strengthening one’s brain cells, alleviating depression and increasing one’s life span to helping in preventing dementia, reading has several positive impacts on life.
Here’s a look at six benefits of reading that would surely add to your life.
Makes us more empathetic
Reading helps us relate to characters in a book, their struggles, charisma, happiness, life, etc., thereby understanding our own position and of those who touch our lives at a deeper, more compassionate level.
Sharpens our mind
Reading a good book is like opening a treasure trove of knowledge, vocabulary, reasoning and analysis. One gets to question about several situations and analyses the predicaments of whatever’s going on, thereby exercising your mind and making it sharper.
Wards off dementia
Because reading helps stimulate the brain, it helps in warding off conditions such as dementia and in some cases even Alzheimer’s.
Helps you get a good sleep
According to sleep experts and mental wellness coaches, reading before going to bed is a wonderful way to calm your mind. In fact, reading a book on light subject, under sufficient reading light works wonders to get a good sleep.
Brings the best chills
Reading, with a cup of nice brew, is perhaps the most effective way to overcome stress and enjoy one’s ‘ME’ time.
Calms you down
You could compare reading to meditation, helping one in finding relaxation, inner calmness and thus even alleviating self-esteem.
Happy place
I’ve always believed that reading is the best activity to indulge in when you want to calm your stress levels. Take a book, though not a depressing one, and plunge into its pages. The story will take you out of your mental abyss and within minutes you will forget whatever it was that made you unhappy. You may choose a book around your favourite subject, like autobiography, on your favourite character.
“For me, reading a classic is the first choice. For example, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen has humour, romance and fascinating details about family life, which still ring true after more than a hundred years of it being written. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and Matilda by Roald Dahl are also good reads for youngsters.
Of course, the problem won’t go away because you’re reading but a good book will give your mind the strength to cope better and who knows… maybe even a way out!”
— Bulbul Sharma, author and artist
More benefits
Reading benefits both your physical and mental health and is good for all age groups as it improves brain connectivity. When we read and imagine experiences described, our brains simulate real experiences. Parents should read along with their children as it builds warm and happy associations and boosts school performance. It also increases vocabulary, raises self-esteem, builds good communication skills and sharpens the brain. The act of being read to, also, has a calming effect as it creates a safe and gentle space, bringing a soothing quality to it. It can subconsciously trigger a calm and relaxing feeling.
“Enhancing the ability to understand the feelings and beliefs of others, reading cultivates skills that are essential for building, navigating and maintaining social relationships. It empowers you to empathise with others.
“Reading reportedly lowers blood pressure, heart rate and feelings of psychological distress just as effectively as yoga and humour does. It eases muscular tension while alleviating symptoms of depression. While fiction lets you temporarily escape your own world by getting swept up in the imagined experiences of the book’s characters, nonfiction books may teach you useful strategies. In all, reading prevents you from ageing-related cognitive decline.
Choose to read a printed book as it’s far better than reading on a screen; the light emitted by the device can keep you awake which leads to other health issues.”
— Dr Roma Kumar, Senior Consultant, Psychologist,Sir Ganga Ram Hospital
Favourite pastime
“She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”
I always remember this quote by well-known author Annie Dillard and truly believe reading has immense cumulative effects for our well-being. Reading books with my kid during her growing years was something we looked forward to and it became our favourite pastime that we wouldn’t trade for anything else. Me having my favourite coffee and her, a cup of hot chocolate, with book-reading sessions, etched forever in our family album memorable moments.”
Dr Parul Sharma, Director, Ophthalmology, Max HealthCare
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