So far in 2019 I have read 30 books. I can’t believe I’m typing this. When I set my reading goal at the beginning of the year to read 45 books in 2019 it sort of seemed impossible. Turns out I love it! It’s easing to know that there’s always a book ready for me when I have a spare moment or when I want to zone out. Reading is a lovely way to use free time and it’s a lot healthier than binge watching TV or scrolling through social media.
Already this year I have discovered the many wonderful benefits of reading. I’m not just talking about the pure relaxation and pleasure I get from reading either, I’m talking about things that have made my life so much better. I’ve had quite a tough year this year in terms of my mental health, and reading has been one of the few things that has kept me together.
If you’re having a bit of a moment or if you feel like switching off from the world for a while, I really recommend you pick up a book. Here’s why…
1. You Learn More
The great thing about reading is that you can choose what book you go for. Whether you’re intrigued by historical fiction, medieval fantasy or even scientific works you can pick up something you’re eager to know more about. It’s pretty much impossible not to learn anything from reading.
Choosing something out of your comfort zone is a sure way of learning more about topics that are new to you. Earlier this year I discovered my love for England’s countryside, so I’ve been choosing to read novels that are set in small rural towns in England to learn more about what it’s like to live in that type of community. It’s something I had no idea about before.
You don’t always have to choose a genre that you love though, you could always start by reading books that are set in a country that you want to learn more about. You’ll be surprised by how much you can learn about a country from reading a book. Even if you didn’t enjoy the book or that genre then you’re still benefiting from it because you’ve learned something!
There’s some scientific study into the benefits of reading too. It’s supposed to help improve your focus, writing skills and help you with your concentration. I definitely agree that my writing skills have improved since I’ve been reading, and I’ve gotten a better idea of what I want to write about when I finally write a book myself.
2. You Get Inspired
I don’t know about you, but a book’s setting really inspires me. Even small scenes where a character is making a coffee or reading a magazine under a tree interests me. I think that’s why I loved the Harry Potter series so much – a lot of the time the characters we’re just chilling in Hogwarts and that’s just as interesting as the adventures. Detailed scenes help me to appreciate all the little things I do in my life, I imagine what I’m doing and how it would be worded on paper. It gives me serious inspiration for my future novel too!
If you’re reading about a hard-working, dedicated character then this can influence you as well. If their hard work is really starting to pay off, it makes you want to do what they did to get to the top. Lots of people read for inspiration and motivation, and that’s great. There are so many self-help books available these days.
Scientifically, reading gives us mental stimulation which triggers our imagination and helps us get inspired. Our brains are supposed to get some mental stimulation each day, and reading a good book is the perfect way to get it.
3. You Switch Off And Reduce Stress
No-one can deny how much reading is good for your mental health. It makes you put your phone down, turn the TV off and just sit and immerse yourself in a different world. It’s shameful to admit, but a lot of the time I’ll be sat with the TV on scrolling through my phone without paying attention. What a waste of electricity. Reading forces you to focus on one thing which over time will help to improve your concentration.
When I’m having an anxious day or if I’m struggling to control my thoughts I find that reading takes me away from that and helps me to get a bit of perspective. It’s good to have some me-time and treat myself to a break from the world when I need it.
4. You Sleep Better
I seriously recommend you make reading part of your night time routine. Since I’ve added at least 30 minutes of reading into my routine I have found I can get to sleep a little easier. Lights and screens stimulate our brains, which is the opposite of what we want before bed. We want to be chill and calm, not ready to write messages.
Before bed, I make myself a cup of caffeine free tea. I usually go for chamomile or rose tea cause they’re my fave. I’ll drink my tea and pick up my book and really get into it. I find I do my biggest chunk of reading in bed; I tend to read in small spurts throughout the day when I can otherwise. When I can no longer read properly and my eyes are getting hazy that’s when I know I’m ready to sleep.
Pictures taken on a long weekend away near Worcester.