A typical person reads 12 to 13 novels per year. Clearly, the massive digital onslaught has not managed to annihilate one of the world’s most cherished pastimes. In fact, devices like e-readers have made reading not only easier to access but also more practical, with many enjoying this activity during work or school breaks or while they are commuting. A 2021 study has found that literacy is key during a person’s college years since reading helps develop your reasoning power, mindset, and criticality. Expansive literature in particular—that which opens the mind to new ideas and philosophies—can help students adapt to the changes that college life brings.

Mindfulness Reading and Stress Relief

Students who move from home to another city to attend college can experience a significant amount of stress. A 2009 study by academics at the University of Sussex found that reading helps curb stress, lowers the heart rate, and eases muscular tension. In just six minutes, participants in the study were able to lower their stress levels by almost 70% just by reading. The reason for the results is that the act of focusing on what you are reading eases the tensions in your muscles and heart. If possible, listen to gentle music while you’re reading and enjoy a cup of tea. These activities also have the ability to promote a calmer state. The choice of reading material matters as well. Books which are focused on mindfulness can teach students how to learn useful techniques like pranayamic breathing, keeping their mind in the present, and using mindfulness acceptance to deal with negative emotions like fear and anxiety.

Philosophical Literature Affects Mood

If you are completing a college course, or you have a job that requires you to focus and retain a host of information, know that reading can help strengthen your focus and attention. As stated by Neurologist, Dr David Kaminskas, reading can increase neural connections and expand neural networks. ‘A good book makes you human,’ he says, showing that quality matters more than quantity. Reading up on philosophy and religion can put you in a Zen-like mood as well as heighten the many benefits that holistic pursuits like yoga, mindfulness meditation, and positive affirmations can have in your life. Eastern wisdom can be found in the works of Alan Watts, who delves into subjects like the importance of sitting quietly and ‘doing nothing,’ the value of seeing ourselves as parts of a whole, and the struggle against insecurity.

Sharpening the Memory

Reading books, magazines, and online news stories can all help improve your memory and thinking skills, as found by academics at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Their study showed that people who participated in mentally challenging activities, both in their youth and in their later years, had a slower rate of memory decline. When participants had tangles, plaques, and other signs of damage, the fact that they had continued to learn, read and stimulate their brains seemed to protect their memory and thinking skills, accounting for a 14% reduced decline in memory. The scientists stressed that daily reading and writing for children, adults and senior adults, can help boost better brain health and compensate for the damage that dementia and Alzheimer’s cause.

Reading has a myriad of benefits for children, college students, working adults and retired adults. Studies have shown that this hobby can battle stress, improve one’s attention span and sharpen memory. Reading up on mindful material in particular can hone qualities like emotional regulation and teach practical skills such as controlled breathing and mindful acceptance of difficult emotions. It is vital for human beings to continue stimulating themselves mentally and embracing new challenges.