The Benefits of Reading – A Should or a Must?
Today I would like to share my thoughts on one of the closest topics to my heart – reading. We all have different relationships with it but one thing that’s undoubtedly true is that reading is all around us. We can read books, magazines, Facebook posts, articles, billboards, texts and etc. Obviously, since you are reading this, at some point in your life you learned how to read and sometimes we neglect the power that comes with it. Due to reading (and writing), we can be in touch with people from all over the world in a manner of seconds.
Today, however, I want to focus on one specific type of reading – books.
In most societies, parents urge their children to read more from a young age. In fact, it sometimes becomes annoying to hear it constantly and such was my case. One of my main problems, when I was a kid, with reading was that no one explained to me with simple words why books are good for me.
Inevitably this became a problem in my “rebel” years. I had to read an X amount of books (especially during the summer) and I was pushed to do so. I hated it so much that my biggest goal was to read just 6 pages per day (and I read only 3 days a week). It took me years to overcome that pure hatred towards reading. When I finally realized the imperative reasons why I should do it. It had such a dramatic effect on my life that today it’s one of my favorite activities.
What Are The Benefits of Reading
This is quite an ambiguous topic as reading books can deliver many different types of benefits, depending on how and what you are reading.
A good novel can do so much for you:
Take the stress away
Reading for just 20-30 minutes of an enthralling novel can reduce your stress levels. Especially before going to be as it calms your mind and promotes better sleep.
Challenging the brain
Scientists suggest that challenging our brains daily can reduce some brain-related illnesses like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. All sorts of mental activities will do this for you – puzzles, Sudoku, playing chess and obviously, reading.
The more you read, the more words you will encounter. The more you will learn, the more you will know, the more you can use. It’s simple as that.
By reading about all the different characters, actions, facts, stories, we create new brain paths are and a noticeable memory improvement occurs.
Focus, concentration, analytical skills
By spending time reading, even if it’s as little as 30 minutes per day, we improve those skills as our full attention (hopefully) is focused on the story.
The most neglected of all benefits. A marvelous novel will get you excited, engaged and entertained. Sometimes it may even be free if you borrow a book or simply download it.
We wouldn’t pick up a self-help book if we didn’t want to take advantage of the new knowledge that it contains, right? Knowledge itself will not make us successful, happy or accomplished but it gives us the choice and the base on which we can step up and embrace whatever comes next.
Most self-help books are written by proven experts (do your research before buying though) and in 200-300 hundred pages you get a summarized view of their experience.
This comes naturally with knowledge but I want to specify it. By improving ourselves with as little as 1% per day, we can notice a huge difference in our lives.
A different point of view
By opening our minds we get new ideas and we’re able to see things from a different perspective.
All of the above benefits lead to this one. As it’s a big one and we will have a different topic specifically on bringing and improving our value but as for now – the more you know, do, accomplish, the more you will stand out and be ready to face all kinds of obstacles.
Another very essential category of books would be Autobiographies.
The most valuable perk for me is having the ability to get a written one-on-one with a person that you admire and you want to learn from. Most great people have incredible stories to tell and they can teach us the lessons they’ve learned if we give them a chance.
How I Read and What My Goals Are
When I restarted my reading habits several years ago, I began with some of the must-read novels like the Godfather and some a bit more controversial like Dan Brown’s work. I was reading only novels for a few years when I found self-help books and autobiographies. I felt bad in the beginning as I believed that novels were just a waste of time and I can’t learn anything useful from them so immediately I started reading only “educational” books.
Obviously, being at either end of these scenarios is not as efficient as I hoped. Focusing on only one category will leave out some of the benefits. Today, I consider my approach a bit more practical and wise so here is what I do:
I read two, sometimes three books at the same time. Yes, it sounded strange to me when I first heard the idea but it made sense with time. When I read self-help/educational books, I do it earlier in the day when my mind is fresh, I take notes so that I can come back to them later and remind myself all the useful information I have received from that particular genre.
Later on, during the day when I have the chance and definitely before falling asleep, I read my fascinating novels/autobiographies which my mind takes more easily. This way I have a book for almost any situation. Sometimes, I also vary between physical books and ones on my phone.
I have also tried audiobooks several times but perhaps that’s not my way of “reading”. The satisfaction of actually going through the pages (or swiping) is missing.
I finished 2018 with a list of 44 books that I read. In my estimations, it became my best year yet (only recently I decided to actually begin counting them). It’s not bad but as I hear about all these successful people who read 60+ books a year, I would love to get to those numbers soon. For 2019 I put myself the goal of 50 books. Will keep you updated with my progress!
There are numerous ways of getting the knowledge from a book – buying and reading/downloading and reading/Kindle/audiobooks/Mentor box and etc. I will start posting reviews and links to some of the greatest books I read as well. You can check and if you decide – to get a different point of view as well.
Last but not least – some books may be able to change your reality, but sure as hell it’s a fun way to shape it.