Do you get “lost” in books? I do. I tend to binge when I read, consuming novels in a few hours or in a “day”, even if that means staying up late into the night to do so. I remember as a teen that my emotions were absolutely controlled by the story I was reading, mostly leading to great despair, lol. (I don’t think I read many novels with happy endings back then.) I’m better able to control my responses now–no matter what I read–but I’m still emotionally transported by a good story.
A new study finds that reading fiction not only gives us strong emotional experiences but that it also influences our ability to be empathetic. I couldn’t help but think of that study when my friend Libby sent me this link to a short video: Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care. Yes, the setting is a hospital, but the idea can be applied anywhere–our workplaces, a coffee shop, the mall, church, a soccer game, our neighborhood.
Does reading fiction make you more aware of the “unknown” stories around you? Do you feel it makes you more empathetic?