Value of books

Published 12:22 pm Thursday, March 13, 2014

I can’t imagine life without books.

My love for reading started as a young girl studying pictures between the pages, allowing imagery to transport me to another world, though it didn’t take long to learn there was just as much imagery in the words themselves.

By the time I was in 3rd grade, I was reading a book a week and you couldn’t pry me from my favorite paperbacks.

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These days I may not be up to par with the elementary school version of myself, but I know the importance of a good book and, to me, it’s a priceless treasure.

They say reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. It’s just as important to keep your mind active, as it is to keep your body in good shape and reading is a great way to improve your mental health.

A few common benefits are:

1. Stress reduction. Reading calms you, causing tensions to drain away.

2. Improved focus. Try reading for 20 minutes at the start of each day. By getting immersed in a good book, you’re training yourself to pay attention and absorb every detail.

3. Mental stimulation. Keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power and can slow the progress of (or even prevent) Alzheimer’s.

4. Memory improvement. Books will help you stay sharp and recall details faster.

5. Stronger analytical skills. Great stories help you become an analytical thinker and better problem solver.

6. Improved writing skills. You’ll be better at putting those complicated sentences together with ease.

Other benefits of reading include: increased knowledge, vocabulary expansion, boosts creativity, encourages life goals, and it improves social perception and emotional intelligence. Plus, since reading tends to promote relaxation, if you try it a half hour before bed, it may even help you sleep better. (Just steer clear of bright lights!)

To get started reading, make a trip to your local library — tons of great books are waiting.