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  • Author Stephanie Hart

6 Surprising Ways Reading Fiction Benefits Your Mental Health

Fiction books are written from the imagination of the author. Science fiction, mysteries, romance, crime thrillers, fantasies can all be categorized as fiction genres.

We’re backing up the statement of ‘starting young and staying with it’; read on to discover how fictional reading benefits your mental health:

1. Strengthens your brain

Readers experience a slower memory decline than non-readers during the later stages of life; in fact, the rate is 32 percent lower. Additionally, readers show fewer characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Adds to your word bank

Reading enhances your vocabulary size greatly, especially fiction, as it uses a greater variety of words. A reader’s brain displays more activity in the brain’s left temporal cortex associated with understanding language.

3. Empathy in relationships

Easily put, imagination creates understanding. So, reading fiction helps you put yourself in place of others to better empathize with their situation. It activates regions within your brain responsible for comprehending and accepting newer perspectives. This is a crucial skill in developing relationships as you become readily accepting of changes.

4. Useful for countering stress and anxiety

It’s almost impossible for your brain to function at its maximum capacity 24/7; it needs periods of disengagement to restore its cognitive capabilities fully. Reading acts much like a pit-stop in a race, which is life. In just a few minutes of silent reading, your heart rate slows down, and muscle tension eases up to 68 percent; making it the most effective strategy to overcome stress compared to listening to music, going for a walk, drinking a cup of tea, or playing a video game.

5. Regulates the sleep cycle

It’s highly suggested that the last activity you perform just before bed disengages you from the tasks and worries from the rest of the day. Reading fiction engages the imagination and demands present state attention making the perfect environment for the reader to sleep in after.

6. It makes for a happier you.

People who read fiction books tend to be more satisfied in life as they need lesser cognitive closure. In general, readers are happier and feel that they’re more productive with their time compared to non-readers.

Stephanie Hart’s young adult fiction novel, ‘Is There Any Way Out of Sixth Grade?’ is all about sixth-grade friends at a boarding school who recreate their version of Princeton’s historical 1777 Battle as a battle at night in the snow.

The book author’s latest is Mirror Mirror: A Collection of Memoirs and Stories; read the excerpts here.

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