‘Why everyone should swap time on their screen to time with a book’ – Meg Phillips


The physical and mental benefits of reading have been forgotten, and the population is immersed in the superficiality of the media; readopt literature to decelerate the decline of your brain and wellbeing.

With leisure time increasingly being devoted to mindless scrolling and the isolated observance of the lives of others via social media, the amount of time our population is spending staring at screens has increased exponentially, meaning activities such as reading have plummeted in population; reading has been ditched – along with all its benefits.

Scientific evidence is emerging highlighting the dangers of excessive screen-time. With the global domination of streaming services, many spend their nights binge-watching shows.  However a new study in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that this activity could increase the probability of later declines in language and memory.

But there might be a cure: reading, which could positively effect cognitive ability, physically altering the brain. A study has shown that while participants were reading a story, at the point where tension builds, a large variety of areas of the brain were active while reading and after.    This provides exercise for the brain.

Additionally, reading also benefits emotional understanding. Social media networks provide the observer with an isolated snapshot of life; therefore, we are exposed to a filtered reality, lacking a true understanding of the human condition and forming a false perception of life, often evoking feelings of isolation.

Conversely, reading puts us into the mind and experiences of individuals whose lives are unlike  our own, but which we are immersed in and can empathise with, giving us a wider range of emotional experiences. Research suggests that by being exposed to the encounters of others through literature, readers have a heightened “Theory of Mind”, a term assigned to the ability to understand others by attributing mental states to them. Therefore, it is suggested that long-term readers have an increased ability to empathise due to their enhanced ability to detect and identify with the inner thoughts and feelings of others; the benefits of reading extend further than individuals.

Further, swapping your screen time to time dedicated to reading can also aid in alleviating the previously mentioned feelings of isolation. While watching the lives of others can often provoke feelings of isolation and estrangement which can lead to mental health problems such as depression, fictional literature provides the reader with a healthy form of escapism.

Additionally, the mental benefits of reading relate to physical well-being. While your mind is pre-occupied by this means of transportation and thus relaxation, the body reacts by becoming less stressed, reducing blood-pressure and heart rate.

So, don’t sit idly by while your mind and body weaken as you become glued to the latest series and spend hours stalking Instagram, but swap half an hour to open a book, relax your body, and calm your mind – you are guaranteed to feel the benefit.