It’s the new year again—which means people are scrambling to find a New Year’s Resolution that will better their lives. Some may go for the common ones of exercising more, eating healthier, or saving money. Others might go for the niche or seemingly unattainable ones, like running a marathon or learning a new language.
However, there’s one popular New Year’s Resolution that often gets overlooked, even though it’s easy to accomplish, and there are endless benefits: read more.
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed bookworm or it takes you one year to finish a book, reading more can be a simple, enjoyable, and beneficial resolution this year. Senior Solutions Management Group offers independent living, assisted living, personal care homes, and memory care communities throughout the southeastern United States. We’re looking at some of the mental benefits of reading, some simple ways to read more, and some must-read books that may encourage you to get reading!
Mental Benefits of Reading
Improves Sleep & Reduces Stress Levels
If you’re someone who already loves to read, you know there’s nothing quite like curling up and reading a few chapters before bed. It’s a great way to unwind from the day and prepare yourself for sleep. Reading at night has also been proven to be an effective addition to a bedtime routine, helping you fall asleep faster and giving you better quality sleep. Research also shows that just 30 minutes of reading each day can reduce overall stress levels, including lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
Expands Knowledge & Vocabulary
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that those who read more frequently develop a broader and more diverse vocabulary (and are usually stronger writers). Reading exposes you to new words and phrases and allows you to interpret them using the context of the book.
Also, whether you read fiction or nonfiction, reading will expand your knowledge of new thoughts and ideas, how others think and act, and how the world at large works—which can increase empathy and understanding.
Improves Cognitive Function, Focus & Memory
Experts recommend that adults read daily to keep their minds stimulated and engaged as they get older. Not only can reading slow down age-related cognitive decline, but it can also improve focus, concentration, and memory for people of all ages.
Simple Ways to Read More
Keeping a New Year’s Resolution can be challenging, but if your resolution is to read more this year, there are several things you can do to make it easier!
Find What You Love
Some people don’t like reading because it reminds them of high school or college, where reading was considered an assignment instead of a leisure activity. When reading as an adult, though, you can find what type of book and genre you truly enjoy so that reading never feels like a chore.
Swap TV For Reading
It can be easy, automatic even, to sit on the couch and turn on the TV every night before bed. Instead of doing this, try reading for just 20 or 30 minutes as a way to unwind from the day.
If you enjoy reading but find that you never have time for it, audiobooks are a great solution. You can listen to your favorite books (some even narrated by the authors themselves) while you’re cleaning the house, driving to work, or exercising.
Where To Start
Now that you know the benefits of reading and are committed to reading more this new year, how do you begin? What books do you read? There are many great ways to keep track of books you’ve read and books you want to read. Goodreads is a useful app and website that allows you to create a “want-to-read” list so you can easily see all of the books you’re interested in in one place. You can also connect with friends, write reviews, or get recommendations.
Still need some ideas? Here are a few books from Goodreads' “Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once” list:
- To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
- The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anna Frank
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
- The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
- The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
Hit The Books!
Reading is a powerful and enjoyable tool with countless mental benefits of taking pleasure in a good story. This year, Senior Solutions Management Group encourages you to find an approach to reading that works best for you, and hit the books!
Senior Solutions Management Group manages independent living, assisted living, memory care, and personal care homes throughout Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. For more information on senior health and wellness, we encourage you to visit the Senior Solutions blog!