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How reading can improve your personality and employability

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Bookworms benefit a great deal by reading, compared to those who don't.

Not only do they receive personal enjoyment out of this hobby, but it comes with a plethora of different advantages such as better employment opportunities, less stress, more knowledge, better memory, and even more empathy.

According to The Telegraph, reading can help reduce stress by more than two thirds in a mere 6 minutes, which is far more effective than listening to music, drinking a cup of tea, or walking it off. Reported by Buffer, reading is 68 percent more effective at reducing stress than listening to music, 100 percent more effective than drinking a cup of tea, 300 percent more effective than going for a walk, and a whopping 600 percent more effective at relieving stress than playing video games.

It is also a great way to increase your knowledge and vocabulary. Obviously, you're naturally going to acquire more knowledge when you read, particularly non-fiction. Also, the more you read, the more exposure to new words you have. Altogether, the knowledge, vocabulary, and overall reading skills that are gained through regular reading increase the chances of getting hired. Even though more people are going out into the workforce with college degrees, many studies show that their reading level is not up to expectation. As such, showing potential employers that you have better communication skills through reading and writing makes it much more likely that you'll land the job.

Something that people don't usually realize is that you can get just as much out of fiction books as non-fiction. This can range from cultural awareness, empathy, vocabulary, inclusiveness, and creativity. A study done in 2013 in the journal Brain Connectivity showed that readers have an increased ability to put themselves in another person's shoes and use their imagination. Not only is this a good personality trait, but it also makes for a great potential job candidate.

According to Buffer, readers have a 32 percent lower rate of decline in memory compared to non-readers. This is supported by a study done in Neurology, which found that out of 294 participants, those who read or were otherwise actively mentally engaged had a 32 percent lower rate of mental decline. Those who were not engaged had a cognitive decline rate of 48 percent. Additionally, Buffer claims that a 2001 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found those who read present fewer characteristics of Alzheimer's disease.  

A study done by Pacific Standard shows there is an increased sense of inclusiveness towards immigrants, members of the LGBTQIAP+ community, and people as a whole, when children read Harry Potter, compared to those who didn't. This was tested three times, once with Italian middle school students, again in an Italian high school, and once more with English college students. The results were typically the same with each group, with the exception of the English college students who had far less of a reaction. This was most likely because Harry Potter tends to be more of a role model for younger children.

Most people gain more cultural awareness from reading, as literature is able to open up new places and people to those who read about them. Just like any hobby, such as gaming or sports, there is a community that has been created around it and with any community comes unique humour and pastimes.

According to Bustle, reading fiction makes us more empathetic and understanding. This is supported by a Washington Post article which makes the same claims and suggests such behaviour makes you a better person. Keith Oatley, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Toronto, has previously said: "When we read about other people, we can imagine ourselves in their position and we can imagine what it's like being that person". As he points out, reading thus enables us to understand people more and cooperate with them better as a result.

Overall, everyone can benefit from reading, even if its only for a few minutes a day. It can help you grow and develop as a person, while also improving key skills such as communication, empathy and intelligence, thus making you more employable. Hopefully, this article has convinced you to pick up a book. Luckily there is one for just about everyone, whether you're into fantasy, contemporary, non-fiction, romance, dystopian or anything else!

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