Unexpected Activity Boosts Mood and Staves Off Disease

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When we think of health, we tend to think mostly of exercise and nutrition. But there are many surprising activities that can have a huge impact on health that we don’t consider. Case in point. Studies show that reading has a tremendously beneficial effect. As we’ll see, when you read the right things in the right ways, you can dramatically improve your health. Read on and I’ll tell you how.

Boost Mind Power With Books

Rates of Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise. What can you do to protect yourself? Reading books has been shown to help. According to research conducted by Case Western Reserve University, people who engage the most in brain stimulating activities such as reading are the least likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

The lead researcher of the project said, “Just as physical activity strengthens the heart, muscles, and bones, intellectual activity strengthens the brain against disease.”

Not only does reading protect against Alzheimer’s disease, it also protects against all mental decline. A Chicago research group tested a group of older adults for nearly 6 years. What they found was that those who did intellectually stimulating activities such as reading most often remained mentally sharp the longest.

Of course there are other factors that influence our brain power. How well we sleep and the quality of our relationships are important factors. As is whether or not we engage in hobbies that interest us. But regular reading is yet another way we can protect our brain health for life. Making a habit of reading daily can help you to stay sharp.

Reduce Stress

Of the top 10 causes of death all but 1 are closely connected with stress. Research now shows that high stress levels may contribute to illness more than any other factor. So reducing stress levels is an important way to protect your health.

Reading has been shown to be an effective way to help reduce stress. When you read, your whole body and your brain relax. Research shows that reading is actually a better stress reducer than drinking a cup of tea or listening to music. In fact, it was even better than talking a walk!

Of course, I’m not suggesting that you should read instead of taking a walk. Both are important. And reading isn’t the only skill you should develop for reducing stress. There are lots of ways to reduce stress that you should bone up on to improve the quality of your life. But add regular reading to your daily routine and you’ll have one more way to relax and take care of your health.

Improve Relationships With A Good Story

I’ve written about the importance of relationships when it comes to health. In fact, the quality of our friendships is the single biggest predictor of our health and longevity. Apart from just showing up and doing things together, the quality of our relationships is affected by our empathy. That means how well we can relate to others and feel connected.

Strange as it may seem, research shows that reading can significantly improve our empathy. Therefore, reading can improve our relationships with others. This is yet another way in which reading can improve our health.

When it comes to reading to improve empathy, there’s a catch, however. Not just any book will do. To gain this benefit we have to read books that engage us. We have to read books that we truly enjoy. And the best books for this purpose are fiction. So while reading about business, history, self-help, religion, technology, or any other subject can help improve our brain and reduce stress, novels that we enjoy will best improve our relationships.

Reading Improves Mood

A huge number of men suffer from depression, which negatively impacts all aspects of life. Surprisingly, reading has been shown to be very helpful in reducing depression. Not only is it helpful in mild cases. It is also proven to be helpful even in severe depression.

While any kind of reading can be helpful, studies show that reading self-help, religious, or spiritual books offer the most benefit. One of the lead researchers of one of those studies said that depression makes it difficult for people to believe that change is possible, but inspirational books help to overcome that challenge.

The reading of inspirational books is fast becoming a promising new form of therapy. Whether you suffer from depression or not, reading inspirational books can lift your mood and challenge you to see new possibilities.

Reading For Life

The best outcomes are for those who read the most frequently. Make a habit of reading daily. If you are in the habit of watching television, switch it off for a month. Read instead. See how things change for the better. You will notice reduced stress, improved relationships, and a brighter mood. You might even feel a little bit smarter. That’s because reading has been shown to form more new connections in the brain than most other activities.

Make a point of reading a variety of types of books. Read about subjects that are of interest to you, and challenge yourself by reading about things that are new to you. Whatever else you may read, include plenty of fiction that you enjoy. And make a point to read books that are inspirational and challenge you to see life in a new way.

Do these things and you can expect to notice benefits in short order. Make reading daily a habit for life, and you will be glad you did. Remember, real men read.

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