Whether you are a lifelong lover of books or it is a newly discovered hobby, you are reaping the many mental benefits of reading. Besides serving as entertainment and a great way to learn new things, reading can help strengthen mental wellness.
WellAge Senior Living offers communities throughout Colorado, Nevada, and Oklahoma, and our focus is on creating a nurturing environment that supports overall health. Nothing is better than curling up with a good book on a snowy day, so we are sharing the mental benefits of reading and encourage you to embrace reading this year!
Improves Cognitive Functioning
While you may know that staying physically active and regularly using your muscles keeps them strong, did you know that the same goes for mental health? Your brain is a muscle that also needs to be stimulated and strengthened. Reading challenges your brain and gives it the exercise it needs to prevent cognitive decline.
A study published in the American Academy of Neurology found “that the rate of decline was reduced by 32 percent in people with frequent mental activity in late life, compared to people with average mental activity, while the rate of decline of those with infrequent activity was 48 percent faster than those with average activity.”
Delays Onset of Alzheimer’s and Other Forms of Dementia
Because mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, help keep your mind active, they can also help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Why is this the case? Dementia harms the neuronal connections in the brain that allow it to transfer information and carry out specific functions. Reading and other mentally stimulating activities build a reserve of these neurons, slowing the progress of the disease and making it more difficult for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms to affect everyday life.
We carry out this idea in all the services and care that we provide at WellAge Senior Living. Throughout our senior living communities in Colorado, Nevada, and Oklahoma, we offer engaging activities designed to provide both mental and physical stimulation.
Sharpens Decision-Making Skills
Analytical and reasoning power, an ability known as fluid intelligence, can decrease over time. Reading, especially novels with an intricate plot, can sharpen these decision-making skills and prevent the decline of fluid intelligence.
Mystery novels are particularly beneficial because as you read, you are constantly putting together clues and trying to solve the mystery. Of course, any genre can help you reap the benefits of reading, sharpen your decision-making skills, and keep your mind active and engaged.
Reading, especially works of fiction, has been shown to increase an individual’s ability to empathize. When you immerse yourself in the story and engage with the characters, you learn about different belief systems, experiences, and ideologies. This continuous exposure to new situations enables you to connect with the world around you and empathize with others from many walks of life.
Alleviates Anxiety & Symptoms of Depression
Another one of the many benefits of reading is that it serves as an escape from the everyday stresses of life. How many times have you said yourself or heard someone else say that the book they read “transported” them to another world?
Many people experience anxiety due to feelings of uncertainty and worry. When you read and allow yourself to get lost in the story, your mind is distracted from the tensions and worries present in your reality.
According to Healthline, “people with depression often feel isolated and estranged from everyone else. And that’s a feeling books can sometimes lessen.” Like how a story can combat anxiety, escaping into the world of a story can also help alleviate symptoms of depression. By connecting with the characters in a book, an individual may feel less isolated and experience a sense of belonging by connecting to the world of the story.
No matter what you read, fiction or nonfiction, mystery or romance, you reap the many mental benefits of reading. To learn more about how WellAge Senior Living supports health and wellness in our communities throughout Colorado, Nevada, or Oklahoma, we invite you to visit our website or contact a member of our senior living team!