Psychological Perks of being a Bookworm

What’s it like being a bookworm? If you think you are one, give yourself some time and think
about how your everyday life works. If you’re not, or if you refuse to be called as such, yes, I
don’t know about you but I know someone who does. Anyway, if that’s the case or the other
aforementioned, why don’t you ask a friend or colleague who you think is one? WHAT IS IT
REALLY LIKE BEING A BOOKWORM? And I’m not talking about the wood-boring larva that
snacks on paper here, obviously. I’m referring to the ones buried in pages wanting to hop inside
worlds beyond worlds inside them, to those whose noses are always stuck in one book after
another, those who grow close to characters and long to be with them again after turning the
very last page, and to our bookish friends who devote a significant amount of their lives to
reading.

I’m sure in answers to that general question, there’d be a number of upsides as well as
drawbacks; but here are some of the its psychological perks:

1. Brain workout

Reading is considered to be a good brain workout since it requires the use of more mental
energy compared to other activities like watching movies or TV shows. This is because it
takes more mental effort to comprehend texts than it does to process images. It also
exercises our working memory; for it calls for the active process, storage and transfer of
new and different information promptly coming in as we read. (Koren, 2013)

2. Slowing down of cognitive decline

In our lives, there will come a certain time in which our cognition and other mental
capacities reach a peak, and in due course, start to deteriorate. However, studies show
that frequent cognitive activity reduces the rate of memory decline. This is of course
independent of common neurodegenerative illnesses brought about by old age such as
dementia. (Wilson, Boyle, Yu, Barnes, Schneider, & Bennett, 2013)

3. Human interaction exercise

Reading, well, reading fiction specifically, enhances our social awareness such as
deciphering emotions of those around us and taking on their different perspectives; in a
way preparing us for everyday collaboration and interaction. (Bookworm as Social
Butterfly: The Effects of Reading on Our Social Skills, 2012)

4. Strengthening of social ties

Since it sharpens our social brains, our empathy towards others also increases in the
process (Bookworm as Social Butterfly: The Effects of Reading on Our Social Skills, 2012),
which is quite vital in the establishment of successful interpersonal relationships at home, in the workplace, in school, in social circles and beyond. (The Psychology of Emotional and
Cognitive Empathy)

Real life experiences may teach us a lot that books can’t; but there are also things reading
allows us to experience that the world out there can’t either.

 

 

 

 

RESOURCES

Koren, M. (2013, July 3). Being a Bookworm May Keep You Sharp in Old Age. Retrieved January
11, 2019, from Smithsonian: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/being-
a-lifelong-bookworm-may-keep-you-sharp-in-old-age-6786112/

Staff, U. R. (2012, March/April). Bookworm as Social Butterfly: The Effects of Reading on Our
Social Skills. Retrieved January 11, 2019, from Utne Reader:
https://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/effects-of-reading-zm0z12mazsie

The Psychology of Emotional and Cognitive Empathy. (n.d.). Retrieved January 11, 2019, from
Lesley University: http://www.lesley.edu/article/the-psychology-of-emotional-and-
cognitive-empathy

Wilson, R. S., Boyle, P. A., Yu, L., Barnes, L. L., Schneider, J. A., & Bennett, D. .. (2013, July 23).
Life Span Cognitive Activity, Neuropathologic Burden, and Cognitive Aging. Retrieved
January 11, 2019, from Neurology: https://www.n.neurology.org/content/81/4/314

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