Make Room For Reading
by Marissa Sappho, LCSW, BCD
I learned to read when I was quite young and reading has been a gift and a joy for me ever since. Reading is something I wish more people did more frequently. Nowadays, I read too much -- more internet nonsense (non-stop email!) and not enough magical, stimulating, challenging materials. It is easy to get burned out on reading -- when you think about the volume of text messages, emails, IM's/G-Chats that we are exposed to everyday, sitting down with a book, article or other text may seem boring, trivial, or like too much "work" -- "Read a book? That's what podcasts are for amiright?!"
Here are some "totes legit" reasons to read everyday (and I don't mean those all important status updates!):
- Mental Stimulation Studies prove that reading keeps your brain sharp and can stave off memory decline in old age
- Stress Reduction Reading is relaxing and may even help you sleep better at night
- Knowledge Learn something. Try it. You will like it! I promise. Studies show that with the increased use of the internet, people think they are more knowledgeable than they actually are...read a book and actually learn for real!
- Vocabulary Expansion Who wouldn't like to expand their word bank? Sanskrit has 96 words for "love" and in English there is only one...learn more ways to express your deepest truest feelings by reading
- Memory Improvement Every new memory you make forces your brain to create a new synapse (brain pathway) so why not build some new synaptic connections by remembering the characters & plot of a new book?
- Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills In the 21st Century, it will only improve your odds of employment (not to mention your odds of being seen as an interesting and thoughtful person) if you can strengthen your analytical thinking skills -- analyzing details such as plot development, character analysis etc are ways to strengthen your analytical/critical thinking skills
- Improved Focus & Concentration Forget about the zen mindfulness bell or slowly eating a raisin -- if you want to improve your yoga practice, your emotion regulation, help minimize the symptoms of ADHD, pick up a book! Reading is the automatic "one-mindful" moment!
- Better Writing Skills Every wonderful English teacher I had repeated the same thing to us over and over -- the best writers are avid readers. In a world of "LOL" "OMG" "Emoji" "I can't even" it may be hard to understand why writing skills are important, however you will just have to trust me when I say they are. I give extra credit to people who hand write a thank you note to me whether that's a thank you for a gift, or a job interview, don't let letter writing turn into another lost art!
- Entertainment Perhaps most important...reading can be really fun! There is a book for almost anything you can think of -- whatever your interests are, no matter how far out they might be, someone has written a book on it!
When you read, you are addressing multiple dimensions of wellness all at once! Intellectual, creative, emotional, spiritual -- and possibly even career, finance, physical, social & environment depending on the book. Next week, I will share my current reading list and some ways to make reading engaging for even the most resistant readers.