In these troubled times we need something to keep our minds off the situation for a while and to help reduce our stress levels. You must be able to read (or you wouldn’t be reading this!), but does your daily reading consist of a quick glance through Facebook or your emails, a leisurely flick of a magazine or trawling the newspaper for something that captures your interest? Or do you really, really devour books?

There are a number of reasons why reading every day is important, and mental stimulation is one. Staying mentally stimulated is said to help prevent the progress of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, and just like doing daily press-ups for your body, your brain needs daily exercise to keep it powered up. Puzzles and crosswords or playing games such as chess have been found to help mental stimulation.

Stress reduction is another reason to keep reading. Nothing beats losing yourself in the plot of a good story, or reading an engaging article to help reduce the stress of your job or the multitude of issues we face daily, and can help you relax and release tension.

Reading can fill your head with information - useless or otherwise! – you never know when that little-known fact you picked up will come in handy. Nobody can take that knowledge from you, and no matter your age, you can still add to it. I even wondered how much you really read the paper or a magazine. I myself am guilty of skipping through the paper or a magazine to get to the juicy bits I am interested in – but look how much information we miss - What the print run is? Where it is printed? Who publishes it?

Whilst you read, you expose yourself to a wider vocabulary, which greatly helps you become more articulate and can improve your self-esteem. And knowledge of scientific breakthroughs, global events and an awareness of literature, can greatly enhance you as a person both in your private life and perhaps in your chosen career.

When you read a book you have to keep track of the plot, the sub-plots, and the characters that weave the story and this is where your memory kicks in – another thing your fantastic brain can handle, and reading daily can help improve memory. When you put the book down, whether it be for a day or a week, when you go back to it, your memory can restore the story so far to enable you to continue. Amazingly enough, every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall as well as stabilizing moods.

I myself just love to read, and would be like a starving man struggling around the desert without something to eat, and a good read fits the bill. So there you have it – reading is food for the brain!