As a child, I never enjoyed reading. However, despite exclaiming this to my teachers, they continued to assign mandatory reading logs (which really veered me away from opening a book) — sometimes even bribing us with golden treasure box prizes to get me to turn the pages. It was a real kicker though when I arrived at high school and college where, if I didn’t finish the textbook reading assignments, I could kiss any chance I had of passing the class goodbye.
Book reports, weekly annotation checks, analyses and group book projects took over what may have once been deemed “enjoyable.” With all the required reading I was assigned, no bone in my body wanted (or had the time) to read for fun. That is, until, college graduation.
Upon walking across the stage to accept my diploma and celebrating being finished with school FOREVER (or at least for a long time…), I suddenly had free time! My weekends were open, uncluttered, cleared, FREE! No longer was I forced to spend hours studying or worry about upcoming tests, projects and next semester’s classes. I could finally enjoy “me” time!
Yet, with this newly acclaimed time I had, I realized I had no hobbies (embarrassing, I know). So, I grabbed a book off my shelf and began reading. It was “The Love that Split the World,” by Emily Henry. By the second and third chapters, I couldn’t get enough. It baffled me that I found myself worrying about the characters throughout my day — at work, during my commute, at the grocery store — I just couldn’t WAIT to stick my nose back into the pages.
Since then, I’ve put new books on my birthday and Christmas lists to re-stock my shelf for the upcoming year. And, lucky for me, there are quite a few benefits to this hobby! Check out how you too can benefit from reading:
Improves brain activity (including memory)
Your brain is a muscle — the more you flex it, the stronger it will get!
One of my favorite things to do at the end of the day is dive into the character’s world and forget what may be stressing me out in mine.
Aids in sleep readiness
I recommend reading a tangible book in the evenings rather than trying to read on a tablet. The blue light from the screen affects your mind’s ability to relax and prepare you for sleep.
Expands your vocabulary
It’s much easier to understand new words and phrases when they’re used in a story rather than trying to figure them out without contextual details.
Enhances concentration and ability to focus
Similar to how it reduces stress, reading also enhances your ability to focus by keeping you tuned into one task at a time — allowing your mind to slow down and relax.
While I’m sure there are many more benefits to reading, these are the ones that I benefit most from. Here’s a list of what’s on my bookshelf this year — what books are you reading?