Books have tremendous power over individuals, and therefore collectively over society. They provoke us to think, giving our neurons some much needed exercise, and as the Latin saying goes – I think, therefore I am. Ultimately, you become what you think and feel, and books influence exactly that. Here are ten impact of books on our life and how reading books influence our life, little or big.

Change our mood instantly

Books can have a profound influence on your mood. Studies show that you’re more likely to have moods that correspond to the mood and tone of the book you’re reading. That’s why some books can comfort you, while some tragic books can devastate you. Depending on what you’re feeling, you can create reading lists to match the mood you’re in or want to be in. Books can be an immediate mood booster.

Affect sleep and stress levels

Reading before you go to sleep is a foolproof relaxation technique. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Sussex shows that reading reduced stress levels by 68%. It also enhances sleep, enabling you to sleep deeper and feel fresher when you wake up. Certain kinds of books are better for bedtime reading than others. For example, horror or thriller books are probably not a good idea. We’ve written an article about the best audiobooks to sleep to, because of their comforting qualities, so you can check that out for recommendations.

Impact Of Books On Our Life | How Reading Books Influence Our Life
Impact Of Books On Our Life | How Reading Books Influence Our Life

Increase attention spans

Reading definitely expands attention spans, due to the narrative structure of the novel You need to be present, pay attention and concentrate in order to understand the advancement of the plot, which aids attention. This narrative structure also enables you to focus more on understanding the bigger picture of the story – the expansive, comprehensive structure rather than minor details, which increases sustained attention spans.

Make us more empathetic

When you read a book, you live vicariously. For a few moments, you desert your own consciousness and become one with another story. This helps to build empathy. You learn to feel for others – whether it’s joy or sorrow. Reading helps you put yourself in other’s shoes quite easily, which can then be generalized to real people in your life. Imagine, if you feel so much joy and pain for fictional characters, how much will you feel for real people who actually exist?

Add to our wisdom

Books expose us to the world at large – we gain access to knowledge from all over the world. They add to not just our knowledge but also our wisdom, because they change our perspective. You can learn from other’s lessons, even from the lessons of fictional characters. For example, you can learn lessons of friendship, loyalty and courage from Harry Potter. You can learn about omens of life and beginner’s luck from The Alchemist. You can learn about the Japanese art of staying happy from Ikigai.

Impact Of Books On Our Life | How Reading Books Influence Our Life
Impact Of Books On Our Life | How Reading Books Influence Our Life

Shape our personality

Involuntarily, the books we choose to read shape and influence our personality. Without conscious awareness, these books keep adding traits to you, changing previous traits and altering your outlook. Thus they cumulatively shape your personality, which includes the sum total of broad characteristics that define you. Books define your character, values, principles, ways of perceiving and your reactions to stimuli, and hence your personality.

Broaden our worldview

Books throw open the whole world to you. Sitting on your couch, you can gain access to stories and lessons and ideas from all over the world. You become exposed to the whole world, to different cultures, to their wondrous discoveries. Thus you learn to look at the world from varying perspectives, which broadens your worldview.

Influence our political and social opinions

Books also have a direct influence on our life – they affect the way we view politics and society. An ardent Orwellian leader, for example, will think negatively of totalitarianism and communism, but a Marxist reader will approve of it. The way we look at our political leaders, their ideologies and their aims is influenced by what we read about them. In addition, our views on aspects of the society such as environment, religion, culture, tradition and even our very own identities depends on what we read.

Impact Of Books On Our Life | How Reading Books Influence Our Life
Impact Of Books On Our Life | How Reading Books Influence Our Life

Increases confidence and self-esteem

Reading makes you aware of everything that’s going on in the world, and even about events in the history. Plus, it does this in a multidimensional way. Thus, books add to your store of knowledge and there’s no better way to increase your self esteem than to increase your knowledge. This is because the confidence that comes from within, from your mind, is permanent and cannot be taken away. Conversely, confidence based on looks and other superficial things comes from without, and is superficial.

Adds to beauty in life

Lastly, books add beauty to life. Books have a bigger impact than just ideological, neurological or physical. They have an aesthetic impact as well. Books add an added dimension of colour in our lives, by making is experience life vicariously in all its shades and hues. Books make you feel –  happiness, pain, anger, dear, wonder, disgust, surprise, nostalgia – the list goes on. And it is by way of emotions and intelligence that the human life becomes beautiful and meaningful.

Also Read: Think Before You Speak, Read Before You Think – Fran Lebowitz