As I sit inside my kitchen, preparing for whatever Hurricane Sandy is going to dish out and admiring what’s left of the leaves on the trees in my yard, it occurred to me how less frequently I read now. Then I started thinking about how reading, in general, is becoming something of a dying art. Oh, I know. Lots and lots of people still read. But I hear many people say how they don’t have the time to read anymore. Or that their kids aren’t interested because they’d rather hang out on social media. Or that they don’t know where to start or what to read next.
This bothers me because reading is such a healthy, wonderful thing. And here are some reasons why reading is good for you:
It’s great for your brain! Did you know that reading boosts blood flow to your brain? Oh yes indeed, it does. Studies have shown that whether you read for leisure or for critical purposes, blood flow increases beyond your problem solving areas. It’s like exercise for your noggin!
It increases creativity. Reading takes you places that you’ve never been before. It makes you visualize and sense and feel and smell and touch things and places and people you’d never otherwise come in contact with.
You can make new friends. Ever hear of Goodreads? It’s an online community dedicated to books and readers and writers who love to read and who adore sharing their thoughts on what’s in their digital and hardback library. A mega-library, if you will. And, you can search and research almost every book out there, customize your own reading profile and find new people to hang out with who like the reads you do! Even better, you can get exposed to books you might never have thought to read before.
It can bring families, and friends, closer. Read to your kids. Share your thoughts about the most recent book you read. Discuss what you both loved and hated about a story or a character. Seriously — when was the last time you had a conversation with someone about this kind of stuff?
It keeps you sharp and makes you smarter. Reading actually helps keep your brain fit, which is an important thing at any age. It helps increase students’ grades, increases vocabulary and makes you a better writer and communicator.
Reading helps reduce stress! Reading provides a wonderful, entertaining distraction and takes your mind off your worries.
It can inspire. There are so many stories out there — from fiction to memoir to non-fiction — that can really inspire you to try something new, encourage you to make your life better, or help you realize just what you have and to appreciate the people and things already in it. Can’t beat that, if you ask me.
So, what the heck are you waiting for? Pick up a book. Find a new one. Reread an old one. Buy that paperback you’ve promised yourself but that you haven’t purchased yet. Download a new library of ebooks. Read to your son or daughter. Have your son or daughter read to you. It’s good for you!
And, it’ll give you something to do if you’re one of the unlucky ones who might lose power during Hurricane Sandy. Think about it. What could be more fun than gathering in the dark and reading a scary book by flashlight just in time for Halloween – and getting mentally healthier and stronger while you’re doing it, too!
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