People around the world have different hobbies, whether that be a sport, singing, a volunteer position, or even a fun job. These various activities have one thing in common; they bring you something. Whether that be joy, connecting with others, or simply to give you a break from your everyday life; these activities serve a purpose in your life. The activity that brings you the most knowledge and gives you more benefits than any other activity would be, in my opinion, reading. Reading has many benefits, and to me is the “superior hobby”.
One benefit of reading is expanding your horizons. When you go about your day-to-day activities, you are so focused on yourself and entranced in your own perspective that your may not even think about the perspective of others and how they have their own lives and experiences. Reading allows you to step into the shoes of another person, or character in this case, and to learn how they have their own life and how they react in certain scenarios. Dr. Wade Fish, Director at Northcentral University’s Graduate School, said, “Reading expands a person’s appreciation toward other life experiences the reader is not personally experiencing, especially when reading topics that are not related to that reader’s job or lifestyle”(Reading Improves Memory, Concentration and Stress). It could be as simple as reading how people lived in the 1960’s or as fancy as reading about a princess in a castle and how she has to pick a suitor in order to become queen. Taking a break from our own lives and stepping into the life of another allows us to be transported into a situation that we may never be able to experience ourselves.
Another benefit of reading is reducing stress. Many of us have a lot of things stressing us out in our busy and hectic lives, and we are always looking for new, concrete ways to deal with these anxieties. Sometimes, there’s no need to spend lots of money on professionals and programs to achieve a sense of calm, and reading can help. Reading is the ideal way to relax and calm those anxious nerves that are constantly at work. Our lives are full of various activities, but reading allows us to unplug from our own lives and to relax in the comfort of our own homes. A study has shown that, “a mere six minutes of reading reduce(d) muscle tension, and slowed down the heart rates of readers as well. Overall, it reduced stress levels by an impressive 68 percent” (Henry). When we have less stress, we are able to function better completing our daily tasks. We are able to think with a clear mind and make wiser decisions when we are not full of anxiety.
The last benefit of reading I will discuss is building vocabulary. Reading can help improve your vocabulary. Saying new words out loud helps you better recall them, making these new words part of your own vocabulary on a daily basis. Those with a higher vocabulary are considered to be more intelligent, and are often taken more seriously in a work setting, which can open up more career opportunities. According to a paper from the University of California Berkeley, “exposure to new vocabulary leads to higher scores on intelligence tests” (Henry). I have taken vocabulary assessments since I was in elementary school, but they have never helped. I memorized the words for the quiz or test, I got a good grade on the assessment, and I forgot all of the words the next day. This never expended my vocabulary because all I was doing was memorizing and regurgitating. I was not learning. This year, my vocabulary quizzes consist of words in the texts that I am reading in class, so I am able to apply the words in my learning. This has helped me expand my vocabulary, and reading these texts has reinforced these new words as well.
At the end of the day, we all would like to be able to do an activity that benefits ourselves. We like to fuel our minds in any way that we can, and reading allows us to do just that. Reading allows us to expand our horizons, reduce stress, build our vocabularies, and so much more. Reading is something so simple but yet so impactful to our lives each and every day. The next time you pick up a book, never underestimate the possibilities of learning that book can give you.
Henry. The Importance of Reading: Click Here to Read More. 18 Nov. 2020, www.uopeople.edu/blog/why-its-important-to-read.
“Reading Improves Memory, Concentration and Stress.” Northcentral University, 10 Dec. 2016, www.ncu.edu/blog/reading-improves-memory-concentration-and-stress#gref.