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How Reading Makes You a Better Person

How Reading Makes You a Better Person

You’ve heard it said time and time again before: reading matters. No matter who you are, a love for reading books is a valuable life skill. Books can transport us to other times and places, let us walk in someone else’s shoes and show us entirely new worlds we never could have imagined. And of course, if fictional books create new worlds, then nonfiction books explain the world we live in. 

No matter what genre or type of literature you love, you can always learn something new from a book. In fact, reading books can even make you a better person. Books are a valuable source of information, creativity and empathy. If you’re not a book lover now, you will be soon. Here’s how reading makes you a better person.

1. Reading improves cognitive intelligence.
You may know by now that reading makes you more intelligent. Not only does reading strengthen your vocabulary, but it can actually change certain parts of the brain and even activate other areas. One 2013 study conducted by Emory University found reading novels could rewire certain parts of the brain, producing biological changes which lasted for up to five days. This “rewiring” of the brain improves the reader’s cognitive intelligence. Although, the cognitive effects from reading are not permanent unless they are consistently refreshed through—you guessed it—more reading.

2. Reading strengthens your empathy.
Reading fiction can also play a critical role in strengthening your level of empathy for others and the world around you. Reading gives you an inside look into a character’s life, their experiences and emotions. This intimate access opens up your critical thinking capabilities and activates empathy sensors. One study published in 2013 by Science found reading literary fiction helps improve people’s “Theory of Mind” (ToM), or their ability to understand someone else’s different beliefs and feelings. This makes you more aware and sensitive to others’ struggles, their cultures and their customs, causing you to be more forgiving and nurturing than before.

3. Reading improves your happiness.
This might come as a surprise, but reading can also improve your happiness with yourself and life. Researcher Josie Billington at the University of Liverpool shared a study in 2015 when she surveyed 4,164 adults, and found interesting contrasts between people who read regularly and those who didn’t. Consistent readers reported feeling less stressed and less depressed, with higher self-esteem levels and a greater ability to cope with challenges. Compared to non-readers, they also showed higher results in close friendships and community connections, with a stronger awareness for social issues and cultural diversity. All of this resulted in a stark difference between the happiness levels for consistent readers and their non-reader counterparts.

4. Reading protects your memory.
Brain-boosting activities like reading can also protect your memory, both short- and long-term. A 2013 study conducted by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago discovered consistent readers tend to show fewer signs of memory loss as they age. In the study, researchers conducted memory and thinking tests on 294 people during the last six years of their lives. After participants’’ deaths, they performed autopsies to look for signs of dementia. Researchers then discovered that participants who were avid, lifelong readers, showed 32% lower rates for memory decline at the end of their lives. Turns out, you can add a significant benefit to your life just by picking up a book.

There’s no doubt about it: reading improves wellbeing and can make you a better person. If you haven’t picked up a book in awhile, now might be the perfect time to do so. Try to incorporate more reading throughout your life and see how you can grow and influence others through it.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

Dear Clients & Supporters,

As you may have heard, our office in Pueblo was maliciously vandalized by an unidentified gunman, just after midnight on the evening of June 2nd.

Footage from our security cameras shows an initially calm scene, before what appears to be a man walking by nonchalantly, hands tucked in pockets, suddenly stopping and turning to withdraw a firearm. The gunman then starts dashing, firing shot after shot directly at our storefront.

This person and their weapon have caused immense harm. Financially, the estimated damage exceeds $25,000. The same bullets that shattered glass and pierced through walls have wounded our hearts. However, the cost of this emotional damage cannot be measured in dollars. If there is a silver lining, it’s that nobody was physically hurt - or worse. For that, we’re eternally grateful.

To be clear, this individual and this destructive act, are not linked to the Black Lives Matter movement or protests of any kind. Unfortunately, we believe this anger to be rooted locally in a conflict between a tenant and their disgruntled clients.

In the wake of the ongoing pandemic and riots spurred by civil unrest nationwide, we know things are uncomfortable right now. We know people are upset and hurting. We're hurting too.

As much as it pains us to board up these windows and doors and close our building, we have no other choice but to do so until we can get them fixed. Despite our office being closed, rest assured, we are still working.

While the need for our services grows, so does our need for your support. In fact, we need you now more than ever. Whether it's time or a monetary donation, anything you can do to help us continue promoting healthy, vibrant neighborhoods across Southern Colorado is not only sincerely appreciated; it's vital to actualizing our mutual goals as a community. You can make your contribution, securely and conveniently online at https://nwsoco.org/how-to-help/donate.html or to submit interest in volunteering please visit https://nwsoco.org/how-to-help/volunteer.html.

We want you to know, we will be back, and we will continue to fight for a better Southern Colorado. To get there, more of us need to change. Amidst these changes, one thing will remain certain: our commitment to serving you and the entire Southern Colorado community.

The pain we feel now will pass, just like the time we have with those we love. Remember to take care of each other. If this unprecedented time has taught us anything, it’s that we need each other more than we could have ever known.


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

A Message about Our Services in Light of Coronavirus (COVID-19) – UPDATED 06/09/2020

NeighborWorks Southern Colorado cares about the health and safety of our customers, staff, and community partners. Out of an abundance of caution, we are suspending in-person workshops and counseling appointments temporarily. We will continue to provide homebuyer education and counseling services virtually, and you can reach our employees by phone or email. We will not be receiving visitors to our office until further notice.

We are in the process of contacting customers registered for our Homebuyer Education Workshops or scheduled for an in-person counseling appointment to make other arrangements. If you need to reach us, please call (719) 544-8078.

We are monitoring the news closely and taking advantage of this time to do updates and upgrades to our building to better serve you when we re-open; we will post updates about our services to this website. Thank you for choosing NeighborWorks Southern Colorado as your trusted partner and first choice for homebuyer resources in Southern Colorado.

06/09/2020

Please take precautionary measures... Be safe and stay healthy

Our Impact in 2019

  • Attended Group & Online Classes

    1154

  • New Homeowners

    641

  • Dollars Invested Into Communities

    125,400,000

  • Dollars in Mortgage Loans Originated

    2,700,000

  • Dollars in Small Business Lending

    150,000

  • Homes Built & Sold

    5

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