The Positive Power of Reading

Head of English Miss McLarnon suggests some ways to improving our well-being, especially during this time when we may be looking for things to do:

In these extraordinary times, many of us will find ourselves with more time on our hands than at any other.  Time that we could fill up with looking obsessively at news feeds.  Time that might well be spent worrying.  Time that could be spent getting cabin fever…

But there is another way…

Taking up a hobby will help to stimulate your mind and fill the time; cooking, sewing, exercising, painting, reading will help.  Hobbies are a great way to practice mindfulness as they often require an individual to concentrate solely on one thing – banishing other thoughts for a certain period of time.

Did you know however that book reading has been proven to lengthen life span?  People who read books live for around two years longer than those who don’t, irrespective of gender, wealth, education or health, according to a Yale University study. While a similar association was found among readers of newspapers, it was weaker.  Deep reading promotes empathy and emotional intelligence – cognitive processes that can lead to greater chance of survival, the report explained.

What is more, evidence suggests that being immersed in a book-oriented environment is beneficial to educational achievement.  One study shows how growing up with a library at home boosts adult literacy, numeracy and technological problem solving.  Not many of us are lucky enough to have libraries at home but many of us have books in the house.  Now may be the time to have a look around to see what you can uncover.  That book of your parent’s that’s been sitting on a shelf for the last year may be just the thing now to see you through.  No books at all?  Well never fear.  Publishers have put more free on-line books and e-reads out than ever before in response to the huge demand for books that has been sparked by recent events.  See:

According to the economic forum, the skills we will need for the future include the following:

  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Creativity, originality and initiative
  • Technology design and programming
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
  • Systems analysis and evaluation

And guess what?  All of these can be developed, enhanced and increased through reading.

At this moment in time though, what is paramount is our emotional well being and there is strong evidence that reading for pleasure can increase empathy, improve relationships with others, reduce the symptoms of depression and improve wellbeing throughout life, new research carried out for The Reading Agency has found.

So, in the weeks and months ahead, stay well, stay safe and stay reading!

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