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There are one too many reasons—backed by research—that make reading important, which only shows why people should consider picking up a book more often than they do now

Words hold power—it's an idea that many believe as it has always been proven to be true. It has informed people, allowed us to communicate with the world and shaped cultures for millions of years. If mere words can do so much, just imagine how a book can change one individual.

Read to become smarter and healthier

Reading books can make anyone smarter. Improving emotional intelligence, vocabulary skills and analytical thinking can be as easy as flicking through pages of a good book. But apart from enhancing skills, reading books can serve as an exercise for the brain. Fortunately, these days, people have realised the significance of mental health apart from physical health. After all, mental health significantly affects one's physical conditions.

Researchers in 2008 found that consistently reading books and solving math problems play a huge role in improving seniors' cognitive functioning. This only shows how important it is to read books to stimulate the mind as you grow older, as recommended by The National Institute on Aging. 

A study in 2009 compared the effects of yoga, humour, and reading on the stress levels of various students in difficult science programs in the United States. The research proved how reading for 30 minutes can appease psychological distress and lower blood pressure and heart rate.

According to research conducted by Yale University, reading is a life-prolonging habit. Turns out, those who read books for up to three and a half hours or more a week survived almost two years longer.

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Read to understand life

Reading can even allow us to understand and connect with the world and the people around us as many writers claim. 

On one hand, Margaret Atwood believes in literacy's influence. "Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy – which many believe goes hand in hand with it – will be dead as well."

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The books we read must have an impact on our lives as Franz Kafka suggests when he wrote to Oskar Pollak. "I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us," he said. "If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for?"

William Faulkner, however, encourages all to catch up on reading books—regardless of what it might be about. In a Paris interview, Faulkner said, "Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it."

Reading books has its advantages—be it psychologically, emotionally, and even physically. But it can even improve everyone else's lives. Books, particularly literature, are capable of opening one's minds and eyes to the community we inhabit—ultimately becoming aware of the world. Perhaps this is the one step we can all collectively and easily take for a better future and world.

Read more: 7 Classic Novels Everyone Must Read In Their Lifetime