Reading fiction for me is escapism at its best, but it offers many other benefits, too. Reading lets me leave my everyday life and to mentally visit someone else, to experience a character’s life, understanding, experiences and adventures. While I may never encounter their problems, I have connected with how they solved them, with the character’s resilience to continue despite their disappointments or even melancholy. It has also shown me the magic of forgiveness.
Reading allows me to go places I’ve never have and never will visit, including the past and the future. Time travel, what could be better? I find it relaxing except for those intense emotional or danger filled scenes; plus, I don’t have to put myself into those extremely dangerous situations to experience them. I know, I know… reading it isn’t like exactly like experiencing it, but my imagination makes it damn close.
I’ve read in bed before sleeping for so many years I can’t tell you when I started except as a child. I know reading has helped me escape the day-to-day problems and stresses, to relax and fall asleep. It’s a time to disengage from my own life.
In the past I’ve heard some experts say people should read non-fiction so they can use reading to improve their knowledge and understanding. Guess what? In the past decade scientists have begun to learn reading fiction helps people in many ways. They claim reading improves the mind because so many different parts of the mind are engaged while read. They believe reading improves memory and slows age related memory loss.
When I said reading let me become someone else briefly, it also helped my mind develop understanding and tolerance for other people. Reading has given me insight into other cultures, lifestyles, personalities, and problems. In other words, it helped me develop empathy and understanding. I’ve also learned reading helped me increase my vocabulary and develop my communication skills, well in writing at least…I’m not always so great at speaking.
These are some backup information you might want to read:
Psychology Today: ReadingFiction Improves Brain Connectivity and Function by Christopher Bergland (1/4/2014): Reading a novel has the power to reshape your brain and improve theory of mind (the ability to recognize and attribute mental states—defined by PsychCentral).
CNBC.com: 2 science-backed ways reading fiction makes you smarter by Marquerite Ward (5/28/17) Reading improves your vocabulary and emotional intelligence.
Time Magazine: Read a Novel: It's Just What the Doctor Ordered by Sarah Begley (10/27/ 2016)