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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

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For some, reading is a core part of their regular life and one of their favourite leisurely activities. For others reading is something that they avoid at all costs and really only did “regularly” when forced to as a part of mandatory school requirements. According to mashable.com, as of August 2010 there were over 129 million published books worldwide, an astonishing figure that becomes even more remarkable when you consider that it’s now 2014 and the fact that that figure only takes published literature into account.

“Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.”  – Diane Duane

We all know a number of conventional reasons why reading is good for us, such as it:

  • Furthers our vocabulary
  • Expands our knowledge base
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves focus
  • Betters our writing skills

But what if those conventional reasons weren’t the only healthy reasons to read? In September of this year the group at The School Of Life released a creative video that outlined 4 uncommonly recognized benefits to reading literature. No matter how much you currently enjoy reading, I find these 4 reasons a lot more convincing than any your local librarian or school teacher may have once told you. Check it out:

1. Reading As A Reality Simulator

Throughout my childhood and teenage years there were a number of books that played an influential role in my psychological and imaginative development, but two in particular stand out: ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.’ What made these books so influential to me was that I became fully submersed in a reality that I would more than likely never get to experience in real life, and as a result stimulated my imagination to be even more inclined to think outside of the box.

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As mentioned in the video, this is one of the most profound benefits to reading literature. It allows us to expose ourselves to realities and bodies of experience that we otherwise would never go through, and in a fraction of the time that even one would take to experience in reality.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin

2. Reading Develops Empathy & Consideration

By exposing ourselves to much more than we ever possibly could in reality, books are a great tool for us to better empathize and understand the experiences of others. They enable us to go beyond the shell of our own experience and to take into account the experience of others, ultimately allowing us to connect more easily and deeply with one another. This ultimately not only leads to more informed decision making but also to a better understanding of the overall human condition, making us all more prepared for anything life may throw at us.

3. Reading Combats Loneliness

No matter how close and open we may be with a best friend, partner or family member we all have at least a small side to ourselves that we for the most part keep to ourselves. What books have the potential to offer us is an avenue to explore those otherwise hidden thoughts and possibly relate them to the experience of a written character. For some, this can be key in overcoming feelings of being an oddball, allowing them to better embrace who they truly are and to ultimately be less lonely.

“We read to know we’re not alone.” – William Nicholson

4. Reading Desensitizes Us To Failure

Whether fictional or not, a good chunk of the most widely recognized and infamous pieces of literature are centred around conflict. With conflict tends to come a level of perceived failure. Even though I personally, prefer to subscribe to the school of thought that sees everything as a learning experience rather than a success or failure, books can certainly be a wonderful device for toughening our skin. They expose us to the hardships of others, giving us something to relate to and use as a tool to help in moving beyond what we face in real life. The more we read the more we become better prepared to deal with.

What are your thoughts on these 4 benefits to reading? Let us know your thoughts and if there are any others that you would like to share via the comment section below.

Before concluding, I would like to bring up one more obvious benefit to reading that becomes in my opinion increasingly more important day by day. Aside from reading via e-readers, reading offers an opportunity to engage in something that doesn’t involve technology, something that I’m sure our bodies are more than grateful for. So turn off that TV, put away that cell phone and try reading for a change.

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx