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What are the Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Reading?


There is no doubt that reading helps a lot on humanity’s intellectual, psychological, emotional, and even physical evolution. It is also one of the main reasons why we have preserved and improved many positive and vital aspects of our selves and the world. Reading is very essential. On the positive aspect, it is one of the primary reasons why we stay alive and successful in facing life’s existential challenges and hardships for thousands of years. According to the current historical records, humanity’s ability to write and read started some 5,000 years ago.


As of today there are many scientific studies proving the vast arrays of benefits reading provides to a person’s brain. From objective to subjective, science has demonstrated these evidences through researches. To back this claim, there are links attached below that could send you to the direct studies that were conducted by many different universities in Europe and in the US. On these studies, neuroscientists and other experts discovered varying benefits reading could provide. However, different literatures also provide different results; so of course, negative stories might bring negative impacts.

Neurobiology identified how the brain networks behave in reading. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), neuroscience has provided many important discoveries that prove how reading can really help in improving the brain and the person’s emotional state. In one finding published by the journal Brain Connectivity at Emory University for example, study shows how a story affects a person’s feeling, interpretation, decision, and overall cognitive processes. According to the results, reading novel causes shifting in resting-state connectivity of the brain. So reading literally changes the mind as it “involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain”. And as the reading progresses, these networks also improve and more and more areas of the brain will be lit up.

Other scientifically proven benefits of reading are:

  • it exercises the brain,
  • it reduces stress,
  • help improves the sleeping patterns,
  • increases comprehension,
  • provide more vocabulary,
  • help a person copes with depression and other mental health issues,
  • helps avoid cognitive deterioration,
  • improves blood pressure and heart rate,
  • help a person develop more empathetic characteristics,
  • it helps provide a sense of judgment of what is right and what is wrong (ethics),
  • it improves the memory, helps expand the person’s attention span,
  • improves the brain muscles,
  • and it helps the brain’s organizing capacity by helping us to think in sequence.     

In addition to this, experts also encourage parents to read with their children together. Starting from a very young age, doctors recommend doing this as it helps develop healthy connections between the parents and the child. It also provides more healthy neurons to both the child and the parent and it makes both enjoy time. And lastly, it increases academic performances to children, boosts their self-esteem, improves their communication skills, and overall brain performances.

To learn more about the benefits of reading, we highly recommend you to check out these links below:

Links to the studies:

Reading skill and structural brain development

Brain connectivity

Short- and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain

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