Now that the Internet's everywhere, and we all carry computers in our pockets, it's easy to think old-fashioned paper books are obsolete.
But new studies show there are a TON of other benefits to reading books, besides just making it through a holiday flight on a budget airline. Here's a list of six benefits you might not know about.
1. It reduces stress. One study showed that reading was the most effective way to reduce stress . . . better than walking or listening to music. And the effects start showing within six minutes.
2. It keeps you sharp in your old age. One study showed that people who stimulate their minds throughout life had a much lower rate of mental decline. And some studies suggest that reading may help prevent Alzheimer's.
3. You sleep better. Most sleep experts recommend some kind of de-stressing routine before you get in bed. Reading is one of the best ways you can get your body ready for sleep. Do it under dim light for the best effect.
4. It can increase empathy. If you get caught up in a good story, it can help you deal better with other people in real life.
5. It can relieve depression. There's a tradeoff here . . . it has to be a self-help book, combined with group sessions. But if you can handle a few hundred pages of Dr. Laura or Dr. Phil's blathering, you might even get BETTER results than with normal therapy.
6. They help you learn to READ MINDS. Not in a Vegas magician kind of way, although nobody's judging if that works for you.
A new study in the journal "Science" says reading can develop your "theory of mind," which is basically your ability to guess what other people are thinking and feeling. But popular fiction won't do it. It has to be real literature, written by SMART PEOPLE. (Huffington Post)