Between work, family, friends, and service, our lives are busier than ever. Yet, in the struggle to balance it all, our guest poster Ellie Chapman gives a rather convincing argument on why you should read more. Not that we needed much convincing.
Imagine you have an hour free before bed. What would you do with it? Watch Netflix or read a book?
While we are as guilty as the next person of binge-watching our favorite shows from time to time, oftentimes the allure of a book is too much to take. Deep down, we all know that reading is better for you, but why? What do you get out of reading? And why should you read more?
Today, we are lucky enough to have our friend Ellie Chapman explain why you should read more. So keep on scrolling down to learn all about the wonderful benefits of reading.
Guest Post: Why You Should Read MoreYou’ve probably heard it dozens of times by now. Everywhere you turn there is all this hype about why you should read more and how it will drastically change your life. Can it really be true?
Okay, to be entirely fair, it’s not that you don’t think that reading more will change your life for the better. You probably understand this basic truth and have no problem with it. The problem is that a lot of the advice out there is talking over your head and you need something a lot more relatable.
A similar situation is dieting. Everyone knows that if they watch their calories and go for nutritional food they will lose weight and maintain a healthy weight for their adult life. Knowing that doesn’t make it easier to diet, though.
Why do you want to do it? Is the thought of a hot body enough to give you the motivation you need to stick to your diet every day? Do you have a similar goal with books? Do you know exactly why you need to read every day?
Krystal Pembroke from Brill Assignment says she reads a book every week. She’s been faithfully doing this for over a year now. When I asked her how she managed to keep up the discipline, she said it was down to having a strong enough why. “When your why is good enough, the how will sort itself out.”
It makes sense if you think about it. Everything you have ever stuck to in your life you stuck to because you always had powerful enough reasons to stick to it even when the reasons to let go seemed overwhelming.
Maybe that’s what you need to start your reading journey in earnest: a good reason. Well, I’m going to give you a few reasons that might compel you to try it out. Of course, not all of these will be appealing to you. In fact, none of them might be strong enough for you. However, they might spur you to find your own why. Hopefully, it will be strong enough to start you on your journey.
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Reading Will Help You Become a Better Writer
If you’re in the writing profession, whatever kind of writing, even if you’re a simple work-at-home mom trying to run her own online business, then reading will help you a great deal. When you read, you expose yourself to a slew of writing styles.
From the rigid and concise style that academics use to the flowery writing of romantic novels, to the gripping and suspenseful writing of thrillers and novels to the poetic style of writing you find in epic fantasies; writing is as diverse as the people who practice it.
While your job may only involve writing for academic journals or copywriting to push sales for some internet company, you will need exposure if your style is to grow. Failure to explore the breadth and depth of what the world has to offer will result in you having one boring style that your readers soon get tired of.
At the very least, reading will expand your vocabulary. You can use all the new vocabulary you learn to make your work more interesting.
Reading Improves Your Memory
The Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, “Books are the training weights of the mind.” Reading forces you to engage your mind by creating the imagery you need to picture whatever is happening in the book.
Books are the training weights of the mind. -Epictetus
In the process, you are either reinforcing the neural networks you already have in your mind or you are creating new ones. By creating all this new imagery, you are, in fact, creating new memories that you can later return to when you think about the book. You are also expanding your mind’s store of visual imagery to use in future experiences.
Think of it this way: imagine reading a book with dragons in it. You will have to create dragons in your mind and recall them whenever you remember an aspect of the book that has dragons. In the future, away from the book, your mind’s extra imagery may help you imagine even more fantastical, and perhaps a little more practical, things.
While you do all of this, you’re working out your brain and it is growing stronger, boosting its memory capacity.
Reading Improves Your Analytical Thinking
This recalls the old Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what book he reads.”
When you read books of different kinds, you are exercising your brain as you try to hold the thread of the plot or the reasoning of the book in your mind. You are constantly engaging your mind in the process of trying to make sense of all the information that you are taking in.
If you are in a profession where you need to constantly have sharp reasoning skills, then reading books may help you hone that skill, acting as the “training weights” of your reasoning skills.
If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what book he reads. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Reading is an effective Stress Reliever
Most people actually don’t think of reading in this way. Most people were introduced to reading as some kind of obligatory task or chore that they had to do, like reading for an exam. As a result, reading is as stressful for them as writing a report for their supervisors.
However, reading for its own sake is an effective stress reliever. When you’re reading for your own enjoyment, and not just because you have to, you are letting yourself walk through some imaginary door into another world. You will leave everything of this world, including its stressors, behind. You embrace everything that the other world has to offer.
In this sense, reading is also a form of meditation that helps you disconnect. If you’ve been looking for a fun way to meditate without trying too hard, try reading.
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Books Provide Mentorship
Have you ever heard the saying: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with?”
We all understand the importance of finding high-quality mentors and friends and how it can change our lives for the better. Well, not all of us can get Oprah to give us 5 minutes of her time, nor can we get even a second with Maya Angelou because she is no longer with us. However, there is a way to have high-quality mentorship from all of your heroes without having to meet them in person: books!
Most of your heroes have either written a book, had a book written about them, or cite some books that they read that changed their lives for the better. Why not read those books and gain an intimate understanding of them and their thought processes? In the process, you will get all the mentorship you need to succeed, just like your role model!
A Strong Enough Why
Ultimately, you can read a book for whatever reason you wish. Whatever reason you choose, whether it’s from this list or not, should be strong enough to imbue you with the desire that will get you through reading more books. It could even be that the book is too good to put down. Don’t fret it, just start and watch your resolve get better week by week. You can thank me later!
Ellie Chapman is a freelance writer, content manager, and blogger. When not writing, she loves to read good books, travel and take pictures on her digital camera. Follow her on Twitter!
Special thanks to Ellie for sharing the benefits of reading more with us! If you have a chance, make sure to check out her Twitter account.
Do you wish you read more? What’s holding you back?