5 Benefits of Reading a Good Book

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Do you find yourself only reading when school or work requires it?  Sometimes it can be hard to get past those demands to set aside the time to read for leisure. While you may be used to reading as a chore, if you find the right book, it can be quite the indulgence. To help get you motivated to pick up a book for fun,  here are five reasons why reading can be powerfully helpful, and may just prompt you to carve out some time to indulge:

  • Reading is a healthy escape.

We have all faced those moments in life when we need to immerse ourselves in some other distraction and forget our current struggles for a while. This need to interrupt our chaotic lives with something, that at times may be more pleasant, is natural. However, we face the choice of what that distraction will be. While some choose unhealthy escapes like over-eating, or abusing drugs and alcohol, a healthy choice would be to read a book. With the wide variety of books available to us, you can pack your mental baggage and take off to a different country, time, or planet. Bringing yourself to a new world, surrounding yourself with new people—characters—could be just what you need. It’s a very inexpensive, convenient, and healthy way to temporarily escape any problems you might be experiencing.

  • Reading can bring a new perspective.

Books bring you to a different world and introduce you to different people and the trials they face. You can learn about different scenarios, how people choose to deal with them, and the various consequences. In our everyday lives, we are unable to get into another person’s head and understand their motivations and struggles. However, books can bring us into the minds of others, tells us of their history,  and how it influences their decisions. From this we can learn that many aspects of peoples’ lives go unseen, and that as a result, we might not fully understand their behavior and motivations. Furthermore, we can nurture our ability to empathize with others as we have the opportunity to read the story from their point of view.

  • Reading can improve your communication skills.

Reading expands not only your vocabulary, but the ways in which your words can be constructed to convey a message. By analyzing the different ways people explain things, and in what ways communication is effective and ineffective in text, it can lead you to reconsider how you communicate. Not many of us are wordsmiths and can accurately convey what we think and how we feel. But we can learn something from these writers and the words they use to describe different conditions and states of mind.

  • Reading is a good way to spend some alone time.

Spending time alone is healthy and necessary for everyone. What to do with that time is a common question when there are so many things we only want to do with other people. One great option for spending time alone, even if you are in a house full of people, is reading. You can curl up on any couch and read. Spending time by yourself, with your own thoughts, is good for you. You have the opportunity to let the book take you to whatever corners of your mind it leads.

  • Reading can help you relax, and even help you fall asleep.

Sitting still and letting your body rest while you read is calming. When your mind is busy concentrating on reading a good book, your body releases tension and lowers your heart rate. Having trouble falling asleep? — Try reading in bed. Reading is a great transition activity from daily business to that deep sleep you need. It allows you to wind down slowly and can eliminate the anxiety or rumination that sometimes precedes sleep.

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Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Centennial, Colorado. She is an EMDRIA Approved Consultant and Trainer and EMDR Certified Therapist, providing both EMDR trainings and consultation to clinicians as well as specializing in EMDR therapy for people seeking help with trauma, grief and other anxiety related disorders.
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