Is your life so busy you’re wondering how you are going tofind time to read more, especially when it’s just for‘pleasure’? Having trouble justifying it, even toyourself? Leisure activities like reading are often thethings that slide when life goes into overdrive. Andthat’s sad because it’s an activity that can make lifericher and more enjoyable.
A lot has been written about the benefits of reading forand to children. However, there is very little about thebenefits to adults in engaging in regular reading. Let meassure you that the benefits for adults do exist and aremany and varied.
Some of these include:
1. Providing an escape from the day-to-day Fiction is a great way to take a quick immediate break, tobe instantly transported into another world. Today youcould be in America, in the deep south with Alice Walker’s‘The Colour Purple’, tomorrow in the Australian bush withTim Winton’s ‘Dirt Music’, next week in downtown Londonwith Helen Fielding’s ‘Bridget Jones Diary’ and next monthin Ireland with Jim O’Neill’s ‘At Swim, Two Boys’. Thereis no limit to the places fiction can take you.
There is something about stopping to focus on wordsarranged for our reading pleasure that is instantlyrelaxing. Maybe it’s staying still, something that doesn’tseem to happen often enough. Maybe it’s knowing that weare stepping into a secret world that we have to relaxenough to enter. Then there is the words themselves. Thebeauty and rhythm of language has the ability to calm andrelax us.
3. Stress relief
Taking your mind off your own problems, even for a fewminutes, can have a therapeutic effect and be a timelycircuit breaker. This is so effective that the NationalHealth System in the United Kingdom has introduced a‘Reading and You Scheme’. The scheme encourages mentalhealth patients to read more as part of their therapy forreducing stress and overcoming anxiety, depression andsocial isolation.
4. Stimulates the right side of your brain
Reading opens your mind to new possibilities. It stretchesyour imagination in new and wonderful directions and takesyour mind on a wonderful journey through others’ lives. What would you do if you were Jo Becker in ‘While I WasGone’ by Sue Miller? Would you tell your husband and threedaughters about a grisly crime that happened when you werea university student? Or would you try to pretend it neverhappened?
Fiction is capable of provoking many and varied emotionalresponses – it can make you laugh out loud, it can maketears spill onto the page, it can be edge-of-the seatterrifying, it can make you blush with embarrassment, itcan challenge your core beliefs. There is a world ofemotion in every story and you as the reader get to be partof it.
Reading is a deeply satisfying pursuit. The expression‘curling up with a book’ evokes a warm and cosy image andfeels luxurious if you don’t get to do it often.
Reading is an easy and quick way to nourish your soulbecause it is for the most part a solitary pursuit. Andbeing alone, or at least alone in your thoughts, on aregular basis is crucial to maintaining a sense of self. As I’m sure you know, it’s easier to give to others whenyou feel fulfilled and your needs are met. Even just a fewminutes of reading can keep you going throughout the day. Of course, you know you’ve read something special when youfind your thoughts continually re-visiting it.
Reading is like exercising – mental and physical benefitsflow from a regular routine.
So don’t feel guilty about taking time out to read. Itsgood for you!
If you love escaping into fiction but can't always find 12 hours to indulge in a novel, then you are exactly who Jill Brennan had in mind when she created espresso Fiction! For details go to: http://www.fastfoodforyourmind.com