How many books do you read a year? If you have children in school, how many books do they read outside of their textbooks? I grew up in a small, rural town where sports were sometimes praised more than A’s on a report card. My main focus was on how our team was going to perform Friday night. How was I going to have time to read during my stressful, activity-packed teenage life?
I did well in school, don’t get me wrong, but reading outside of school was not a priority. I’m sure a lot of you can relate! It wasn’t until I graduated college, got married and started making friends as an adult that I realized I needed to expand my knowledge. What better way than opening a book?
Too often adults say “I don’t have time for _____”, and I’d venture a guess that reading might frequently fill in that blank. We’re all busy – between work, family activities, going to the gym, and other day-to-day tasks, who has time to sit down and relax? However, if you took some time to read on a regular basis, you’d be doing yourself a tremendous favor, both personally and professionally. In addition to expanding your knowledge, there are several benefits reading provides:
- Brain Stimulation: Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind.
- Reduce Stress: A well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment. Whether fact or fiction, reading can let tensions drain away and allow you to relax.
- Vocabulary Expansion: The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary.
- Memory Development: Every new memory you create from a story forges new synapses and strengthens existing ones, which assists in short-term memory recall, as well as stabilizing moods.
- Improve Focus: In our internet-crazed world, attention is drawn in a million different directions at once as we multi-task through every day. Taking time to concentrate on a book can help focus your mind.
Not only have I gained an appreciation for learning new things, I’ve also developed a new worldview through literature. Whether you prefer classical literature, poetry, fashion magazines, biographies, religious texts, young adult books, self-help guides, or romance novels, there’s something out there to capture your curiosity and imagination. Step away from your computer for a little while, crack open a book, and replenish your soul. I would love for you to share some of your favorite titles in the comments below!