It’s so interesting how focused we are on the fact that reading is good for us. Our consistent need to track our brain activity, analyze our lifestyles and consider our bookish habits reveals such an interesting obsession. While we all seem to recognize that book-time is healthy, how can we say it? How can we justify reading?
-We start this consideration early. Notice how supposedly reading to your baby will improve their academic capabilities.
-Here’s a list of overwhelming literacy statistics on childhood development that could each be analyzed in depth.
-Bustle provides a researched list on how reading can support you in the rest of your life: Specifically your memory, your stress levels, brain function and lifespan.
–MSN also has a list similar to Bustle’s, though in this one, the writer has included studies on developing empathy, increasing cleverness and increasing analytical skills through reading.
-There’s an argument out there that reading Jane Austen while getting your brain scan reveals so so much.
-Here we have the argument that reading literary fiction gives you a sense of ease when dealing with ambiguity in life. Which is lovely wording.
-What’s important in all this is to take note that readers are not necessarily reading to help their minds/lives/child’s minds, but instead might naturally go for self-improvement through bookish escape. Psychology Today points this out through a PEW Research Study that readers are more prone to separate themselves from the stresses of the world.
Once you start finding a lot of these, they seem to crop up everywhere. This can get a little bit confusing because while one study might note that book-readers avoid stress, another study will say that readers also deal with it better. Is this technically the same thing? If you look at healthy reading studies long enough, you’ll start to see overlap and wording confusion that makes the general message harder to pin down.
In all of this information, we do have to wonder about the chicken and egg scenario. Or, instead, let’s use the apple.
Does an apple a day keep the doctor away?
Or does the person who happens to enjoy apples eat other natural fruits and vegetables that helps maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Do books make us healthier?
Or do people who read books tend to live a lifestyle that allows their bodies to turn off stress, their minds to focus on personal growth, and their world to be reflected and analyzed in what they read?
(Yes, it’s probably a little of both here.)
The truth is that the majority of studies pinpointing the promise of reading have some other reasoning lurking in the background. We just desperately want to prove what we all know is true despite the plot holes: Reading brings something else to life’s table. There is a great belief in the happiness supported by bibliotherapy.
And the studies will keep on coming until we’re all convinced. Or possibly even after that just to make us feel good.