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When was the last time you read a book? For me that was about four months ago… too long… I love reading.
A bookstore is one of the coolest places in this impetuous society, simply because it always gives me a very quiet environment to pause and take a moment. It is a place that magically calms people down. I am sure you have had the same experience, but perhaps not paused to take notice.
Why do I love reading? There are two quotes that best describe the answer.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, and the one who doesn’t read, lives just one.”George RR Martin, A Dance with Dragons
“My brother has his sword, King Robert has his war hammer, and I have my mind… and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”George RR Martin, Game of Thrones
A great book can take us to another dimension – time, location, world, life. I like reading, simply because when I lose myself in a book, I easily forget any worries. If you are like me, I tend to overthink problems, when all we need is a break from the thinking. Like a machine when it is not working, we switch it off, then on, and it starts to work again. Just like the brain, (although it cannot be switched off) it needs to be switched off from one type of thinking, then on again to another type of thinking.
So, if you stressed out, go pick up a book, leave the thing you are worrying about for a little while. Scientific studies have shown that reading is the most effective way to overcome stress. They did this by measuring and evaluating heart rate and muscle tension. It took the study participants only six minutes to relax once they started turning pages.
When I spend an hour with my phone on social media, I sometimes feel bad (guilty), with social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc) we are often comparing ourselves to other people. But if I spend an hour reading, I feel slightly better with a clearer and more relaxed mind.
We can get mentored by successful people for a very cheap price by reading their books. When reading, we are living through other people, and for a moment we start to become the characters we read, start to feel what they feel, and this makes us become more empathetic. It also expands the boundaries of what we know of who we are, ignites our imagination and mobilises our mind.
Reading is a habit – an exercise for our brain, like muscles – the more we train it, the stronger it becomes (of course we need do it often enough). Mental stimulation can also slow down the process of Dementia and Alzheimer’s by keeping our brains sharp as we age. Reading is healthy, just like any other body exercise, so find time for it.
Atomic Habits – James Clear.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood –Trevor Noah.