The power of reading

Lifestyle

Curling up with a book isn’t just a pleasant way to relax or spend a rainy afternoon, but it can also be a good way to stretch your mental muscles, enhance your emotional intelligence (EQ) and ignite multiple senses in a way that an ebook, TV watching or Web browsing cannot. In fact, diving into your favorite read for as little as fifteen minutes a day can help improve both short- and long-term brain health.

Here are several ways reading can help give your mental and physical wellness a boost:

  • Keeps your mind fit. Think of reading as healthy exercise that helps keep your brain young and limber. Staying mentally active, with hobbies like reading, can help improve verbal and commuciation skills and slow down memory decline. In fact, studies show cultivating this healthy habit may also delay the onset of dementia.
  • Improves brain function. When you become engulfed in an interesting book, different areas of your brain have to work together, which forms new connections and strengthens existing pathways. These new and improved connections can also help improve your memory and concentration that are used for other activities.
  • Reduces stress. A beach getaway wouldn’t be complete without a best-seller in your tote bag, but you don’t necessarily have to go far to unwind. Reading a book is a meditative exercise and can help reduce stress. Plus, you don’t even have to finish an entire chapter to reap the benefits. Just a few minutes of reading can slow down your heart rate and relax muscle tension.
  • Makes you better company. Did you know that feeling empathy, an important social skill for relationships, is improved by reading certain books? By exploring characters and lives that are different from our own, it encourages us to take on other perspectives and think outside of our own experience, helping to improve our EQ.

Dive into a good book
If you’re on the hunt for your next read, there are multiple resources to help point you in the right direction. Head to the library to either peruse the shelves or ask a librarian for a recommendation based on your interests. Book stores often showcase the latest titles in the front of the store or you can ask a staff member for a personal or fan favorite.

You can also look online at book blogs or best seller lists to help you narrow down your search. If you would like to add a social aspect to your reading adventure, consider joining or forming a book club. This is a great way to meet other book lovers, become involved in interesting discussions and get suggestions for new and exicitng genres to add to your list of must reads. Carve out time every week to pick up a book — your brain and body will thank you.

This information is brought to you by Athene — where unconventional thinking brings innovative annuity solutions to help make retirement dreams a reality.

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