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How Reading Benefits Your Mental Health

By Rachel Shouse

Reading may not be something you think of doing on a regular basis. Although reading is important for children, it's not just for them. Adults can experience benefits from making reading a habit as well. Although you may feel like you don't have enough time to add another task to your day, simply finding 30 minutes per day to read would benefit you greatly. Reading can help reduce depression symptoms, reduce stress, and improve cognitive function. 

Reading and How it Helps Depression Symptoms

Although avoiding the root causes of your depression isn't healthy, reading can really provide a needed escape for those who need it. Depression can certainly cause extreme feelings. What looks like a normal chore to someone without depression looks like a mountain to someone who does suffer from it. Sometimes getting out of bed in the morning can feel like a daunting task. It's normal to feel like that at times, but it's not normal to constantly feel that way. 

Reading can provide a great temporary escape from all that bombards your thoughts. Those with depression can't always control the thoughts that run through their heads. So sometimes a little distraction provides much relief from the constant barrage of life tasks. 

Reduce Your Stress by Reading

Reading doesn't only improve mental health, but physical health as well. Studies have shown that reading for 30 minutes per day can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and general feelings of stress. 

Reducing your stress levels can also help improve your sleep. Doctors recommend that you read from a printed book. Screens cause our brains to become more active from stimulation. Also, reading somewhere other than your bed is also recommended. Curling up on your couch with a book that you enjoy could easily become a great part of any nightly routine. 

Reading to Improve Cognitive Abilities

More research is being done on the way the brain responds to reading regularly. Doctors have found that reading involves a complex network of circuits in the brain. Those circuits become stronger the more you read. 

Included in these benefits is your vocabulary. The more you read, the more words you can still learn. Even as an adult. Your vocabulary has more of an impact on your life than you may think. A limited vocabulary can have an impact on things like test scores, job opportunities, etc. If you're unable to communicate effectively, verbally and otherwise, you're bound to have some struggles. 

Reading isn't something everyone likes to do. If you feel like you could benefit from reading, but have never enjoyed it try audio books. Although this isn't as good as reading, it could help you get in the habit of making it a priority. Always break changes down into baby steps if that will help. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Jersey City, N.J.

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