There are many entertaining ways for us to unwind after a long day. Having Netflix marathons or scrolling through social media are fun activities, but they hardly compare to the tranquil relaxation of reading a good book. Reading also has health benefits that other leisure activities don’t. In honor of National Book Month, let the Mindful Living Network inspire you to crack open a new book and read more.
Books are a big part of childhood. Personally, some of my fondest memories are of my sister and I reading during our family road trips. Our mother would bundle us up in the back of the car and we would read into the night as our little book lights burned through countless double-A batteries. Reading helped us feel less antsy as we sat in our family van for hours. This was partially due to the imaginative worlds that our favorite authors would create, but it was also due to the therapeutic practice of reading. This comes as no surprise considering the health benefits that reading is known for.
Benefits of Reading Books
Reading therapy has been linked with stress relief, increased concentration skills, and reduced memory loss. A study from The New School also found that reading enhances social skills and empathy. Literature allows readers to see situations through the eyes of other people and this leads to more dynamic social relationships.
To reap these benefits it’s important to read books often. Unfortunately, the Pew Research Center reports that the Americans typically read only 12 books a year. Want to improve your reading practices? Try these Mindful tips.
3 Tips That Will Help You Read More Books
- Know your reading identity. First, ask yourself what you gain from your reading sessions—this can help you determine your reading identity. For instance, if you just want to relax, you may be a pleasure reader. If you want to keep up with current events or learn about a subject than you are more likely a knowledge seeker. Use this identity to customize your reading practice. For instance, pleasure readers may want a more cozy environment to read and unwind at the end of the day. But knowledge seekers would benefit from an alert atmosphere and may even want to take notes.
- Choose your platform. How do you prefer to read? Most people read traditional books (65 percent) rather than e-books (28 percent), but you can use either one for your Mindful reading practice. Remember: you are more likely to read if you invest in the reading platform that you’re more comfortable with.
- Be mindful of your posture, breath, and reading pace. As you read, be mindful of your body. Monitor your posture and resist slouching. Take note of the rhythm of your breaths. Be mindful of your reading speed—slow down and really take in the words. This will help your body relax, physically.