Reading is one of those things everyone wants to do more of, but only a few people find the time for.
Reasons for this are plentiful.
For you, it might be responsibilities and the chores of every day keeping you occupied.
Many people find themselves in a situation, in which they have only a small portion of the day for leisure time.
Admittedly, it is easier to switch on the TV or play video games, instead of picking up a book for the remainder of the day.
All day long, you have been asked to be productive and to solve problems.
Now, you want to finally relax, and simply entertain yourself.
This is understandable, and that’s exactly why redefining your priorities, and delaying the moment you turn on the Television by half an hour can take you one step ahead of anyone else.
Besides that, there are simply too many benefits to be gained from daily reading or reading at all.
In this article, I will try to convince you to read more often and let you see how it can level up your life significantly.
Costs of reading
For some people, reading as a habit can seem like a financial matter.
If you are tight on cash, paying an extra 20-30$, or even more, every now and then to sustain your reading habit can sound like a burden.
First of all, I want to bring my own philosophy about the matter into the mix.
My rule is to avoid looking at a book’s price as long as possible.
While I do look at prices for most other things.
When searching for the price is the primary concern and a major influence in the buying decision, you stop looking for books that precisely meet your interests.
At that point, you might refrain from buying books that would net you the most value, bring you the most joy, because you don’t want to drop the extra 10$.
Consequently, you end up buying a book that you have limited interest and excitement for.
This will not only downgrade the amount of fun and knowledge you will retrieve from the book, lowering its value. It will also make it 10 times harder to follow through with your desire to read more.
If you are missing the fulfillment of looking forward to picking up the book once again, or you only find parts of the book interesting, there is no way you will prefer reading over other activities you could spend your leisure time on.
On top of that, once you have decided to go with the more interesting book, the information, and knowledge you might acquire from it, can easily be worth more than what you paid for.
While it is difficult to refrain from seeing the price when you shop books online, it can be a different story in the book store.
Furthermore, shopping for books in a store is way more satisfying in my opinion. You get absorbed by the many new ideas and topics featured, making it hard to chose.
Anyhow, I’m not saying this is definitely the way to go. If you are struggling with money, it’s perfectly reasonable to look out on where you can save it in all areas of your life.
Even then, reading can be inexpensive.
You don’t have to buy the latest and greatest books to have fun or educate yourself.
Especially with books, there is a collection of evergreen pieces, that everyone benefits from, readless if it is for money reasons or not.
In the fiction segment, a classic example would be Harry Potter.
For non-fiction, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill immediately jumps to mind.
In spite of those books starting to reach a ripe age, they’re still dominating Amazon’s bestseller lists.
Moreover, libraries and second-hand book shops provide the necessary infrastructure to make a reading habit affordable for anyone.
Complementary, looking out for sales or special offers on websites like Amazon can help you with saving money tremendously.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s look at why reading is so important.
Benefits of reading
After conducting that a reading habit is something everyone can pick up and afford, here is why you should do it.
Picking up a new habit will always trigger some positive momentum.
Once you pulled through with it, and start reaping in the rewards, it makes it easier to appreciate productive habits.
Once you see the change it created in your life, you won’t want to miss it.
If you can get yourself to read at least 20-30 minutes a day, you might be able to do the next step, and, for example, start running 3 times a week.
Enforcing positive change as much as possible, heading in a direction of success and happiness.
Where motivation starts to fade out, discipline lets you carry on.
Discipline is not only good to form habits and improve your life by adding productive activities to your day.
Proper discipline will make you more productive in general, having more focus and drive to get things done.
In return, this will free up time in your daily schedule because you are more efficient in finishing tasks.
This time can be used to relax or to add new habits to keep up the momentum and support positive change in your life.
Reading reduces stress
Stress reduction is something everyone seems to look out for these days.
The battle to gain our attention is fierce. Adds, entertainment, family, friends, work. Just to name a few examples.
Oftentimes, we have to consciously take time out of our day to switch off our brain and give it some breathing time.
As a study from the University of Sussex found out, reading does exactly that.
In comparison, listening to music reduced stress by 61%. Taking a walk by 42%, and playing video games by 21%.
As these results clearly show, the next time you think about switching on the console to relief some tensions and stress build up over the day, perhaps try to pick up a book instead!
Losing yourself in a good book can get you in an almost meditative state.
You stop caring about your surroundings and are fully occupied by whatever you are reading.
Reading improves empathy
As this paper conducts, reading does improve empathetic accuracy
This is especially the case for books labeled as fiction.
Challenging the view of fiction being an inferior genre when it comes to providing value for oneself.
If you think about it, it makes sense.
The moment you spend time trying to emphasize with a character, you try to figure out his motives, his opinions, and his reasoning.
Doing this over and over again will make you better at seeing the angle other people are coming from.
In return, this will make you more likable and might make you more social.
You have access to unique viewpoints
Sure, the internet enables us to have almost every piece of information at the tip of our finger. And this is great.
What it fails to provide, however, for example, are fully researched and truthful biographies.
Now you might think biographies are not the most exciting genre.
But hear me out. You and everyone else have the ability to take an in-depth look into the lives, thoughts, and doings of the greatest people that ever lived on this planet.
Are you fascinated by Gandhi, Steve Jobs, or Elon Musk?
Whoever you are looking up to, whoever inspires you and serves you as a role model, you have the chance to emerge into their world and adopt their patterns.
Biographies are often viewed as long, boring history books. That provides minimal value for people who have no interest in the history of things.
However, they are so much more.
Biographies are only one example though.
New books are released every month, in which leading scientists, entrepreneurs, politicians, and unique people tell their stories and explain what they are doing, and why.
Thinking about it this way really helps to find a new appreciation for something as simple as books.
You become knowledgeable
Besides opening up new viewpoints, books also provide huge amounts of knowledge.
While you might find some of it on the internet, there is oftentimes no guarantee for it to be properly researched.
Additionally, you will have a hard time to find specific information about one topic, being well organized, nicely formulated, well explained, and comprehensively dealt with in one single piece of content.
In addition, books have references and reviews, which will indicate the quality of the book, and whether you will like it or not.
Therefore, buying a new book gives you the opportunity to pick a topic, and learn everything about it, delivered by the most competent people in that field.
If being knowledgeable in itself is not enough of an incentive to you, there are plenty of benefits connected to it.
- It makes you more respected amongst peers
- It changes the way you view the world for the better
- You understand new things a lot faster if you already have dealt with the topic before
It improves all of your language skills
Reading helps you in a lot of ways to improve the way you communicate.
By looking at new words you didn’t know before, or just don’t use frequently, you will be able to integrate them in your talking and writing.
Since authors often have a wide vocabulary and specialize in the way they can communicate pieces of content, you are practically learning from the best of the best.
Moreover, it makes you better at understanding complex texts and topics, things you might have had trouble to understand earlier.
To add to that, being well-spoken and good at communicating in general, will benefit you in many social or work-related situations.
As pointed out in 7 Practical Tips to Improve Attention Span Instantly,
Reading will increase the duration you can focus on a single task.
Because your attention span functions like a muscle, practicing it by putting your attention on a book, something that requires concentration to understand, will make you better at it.
Prolonging the time you can concentrate, making you more efficient in your day.
Every time you create a new memory, something that frequently happens during reading, it creates new synapsis in your brain and strengthens old ones at the same time.
This enables you to be better at creating new memories while holding on to existing ones for longer.
This is not only a neat skill to have, but it also lowers the risk for diseases like dementia.
Develops critical thinking
Adding knowledge, or trying to figure out who the murder is in a thriller will help you develop critical, analytical thinking.
Thereby, you will get better at examining situations, understanding motives and plots, and figuring out solutions to arising problems.
So, why is reading so important?
It is something everyone can do and afford. Something accessible, of which you can decide your own pace, topic, and direction.
Additionally, it offers a great range of benefits.
- Makes you more disciplined
- Reduces stress
- Improves empathy
- Provides access to unique viewpoints
- Makes you more knowledgable
- Improves your language skills
- Increases your attention span
- Improves your memory
- Helps you to develop critical thinking
I hope these are enough reasons to motivate you to start a reading habit.
Maybe chose a book over the TV on the next occasion.
Thank you for reading!