Why are we no longer reading?
As a general population, the amount of us who read on a regular basis is rapidly declining – particularly amongst the younger generation. With technology everywhere and social media consuming our day to day lives, it can get harder and harder to pick up a book. Even as an avid bookworm, I still struggle to fit reading in amongst the usual daily admin, life and work tasks.
It is only in the last few years that I have truly picked up regular reading again. Simply by heading to bed half an hour early, putting down my phone and dedicating the time to read. This allows me to get through around one book a month. Not ideal as there are so many books to read – but its a start!
If you have lost your way with reading, maybe you used to love it as a kid? I have put together a few of the reasons why it is so important to read something for pure pleasure. Hopefully, these will serve as a little encouragement to pick up a book more often. It doesn’t matter what kind of books you choose, self-help, fiction or old favourites. Just give it a go and you will wonder why you ever stopped.
Reading regularly means you will never stop learning.
This is one of my top reasons for reading regularly. Second only to the fact I find it super relaxing. When I was younger I used to fairly exclusively read fiction. I don’t know if it was just a natural gravitation towards stories that I could lose myself in, or if I felt like anything non-fiction was like doing homework. Either way, it wasn’t until my twenties that I really started to branch out a bit more into the many other types of reading material out there. Business, ‘self-help’, biographies, design books, the list goes on – and the learning possibilities were endless.
Though I am still a regular reader of novels, normally to wind down before I go to sleep, I am also building an increasingly varied library of non-fiction books. I have been reintroduced to graphic design, learned the origins of code and computers, understood the reasoning behind how you approach branding a business alongside reading about the history of New York. Now your interests may be vastly different. But by opening yourself up to things you find intriguing, even if they have nothing to do with your ‘day-job’. You will start to find that not only do you enjoy reading even more but that you also never stop learning new things.
Reading keeps your brain healthy and active
Speaking of never stop learning, this is one of the main benefits. If you are constantly reading new material on new topics as well as letting yourself get lost in your imagination, then you are going to have one hell of a brain. You keep those neurons firing! Not only does this help to ward of neurodegenerative diseases, it also makes learning in other aspects of your life much easier.
I always find that the more reading I do, the more focused I can be on other tasks.
It provides new ideas and inspiration
One of the best feelings about opening the first page of a new book is the possibilities that lie ahead. This could be the best novel you have ever read. The most useful business tool or even something completely life-changing and outlook altering. At the very least when you turn the last page, you will leave with a new inspirational quote or idea. Even if that inspiration is how not to do something!
This leads me to my next point.
Reading leads to a higher sense of motivation
There is nothing like feeling inspired and having new ideas to motivate you to do something. When I read books on design and branding, I get super excited to continue honing my skills in Adobe Suite and focus on designing a new blog logo. When I spend a lot of time reading novels, I often feel inspired to journal and write more.
It is different for everyone, but if you read things that you genuinely find interesting, motivation often follows.
It can also improve your vocabulary and grammar
I love Grammarly as much as the next person, it is no doubt an incredibly useful tool to have. But with the invention of things such as predictive text, spell check and an increase in tech-based communication, ‘organic’ spelling has taken a hit. I’m not saying don’t use these tools, simply that they are just that – tools. No amount of spell check is going to save you when you have to hand write something or jot down a note for a prospective client.
Reading regularly not only introduces you to a much broader range of vocabulary it also helps with grammar. By regularly reading your brain absorbs all those lovely words. So, next time you have to think of a fun pub quiz team name or work out how to pronounce or spell a new colleagues name, you will feel less of an urge to reach for your phone.
Reading is incredibly relaxing
For me, there is nothing more relaxing, than curling up in bed at the end of a long day. Switching all technology off with a nice heavy paper and print novel in my hands. It signals the start of bedtime for me. That it is time to start thinking about sleep. By making this part of my routine, it calms my thoughts and the consistent action of reading before bed signals my brain for sleep. I find it much easier to get to sleep and stay asleep, with far fewer thoughts whizzing around my head.
If you are the kind of person that finds it really difficult to meditate, then reading can be a great alternative. Reading fiction in particular.
I know that reading isn’t technically meditation, but it is a way of switching what your brain is thinking about. Loosely, the idea of meditation is to quiet all of the thoughts, fears and worries running through our mind and focus on the present. Focus on how you feel. This gives the effect of putting you back in control of your thoughts, as well as giving you a breather from all of the trials and tribulations life throws at you. Reading a novel can also do this. It doesn’t stop your thoughts or put you in the present, but it can take you away from your own life and future worries for a while.
By allowing yourself to become fully immersed in someone else’s (imaginary) world for a while, it not only has a similar effect of making you view your own thoughts from the outside in for better perspective, but it also gives you a similar ‘room and space to think’ effect to meditation.
and if you genuinely don’t have the time to sit down with a good book, why not try…
I’m going to throw a bit of a spanner in the works here, as I have been rambling on about lack of technology, grammar and relaxation when it comes to having a ‘proper’ book to read. Sometimes though, this isn’t always possible – or even necessary. That is where Audible (or any other audiobook service) comes in really handy.
Audiobooks are fantastic for multitasking. When you have household chores to do, you are getting ready in the morning or commuting. Anything that means you can’t physically read something, but you are not using your brain sufficiently for an audiobook to be distracting. One of my favourite things to do whilst I am getting ready is listening to the Harry Potter Audiobooks.
Currently making my way through every single Harry Potter audiobook. It is quite honestly the most calming thing in the world. 10/10 would recommend. #myletterstillhasntarrivedthough pic.twitter.com/PbtDVRp1GZ
— Lucy Old 🌿 (@lucylouminous) November 14, 2017
It is such a familiar story that it is comforting to listen to as I set myself up for the day ahead. They are narrated by Stephen Fry too which is a literal match made in heaven. The other time I like to listen to them is in the car. I can be a bit of a nervous driver, and as much as I love music, I can find it really manic sometimes when I am trying to concentrate (which is obviously the most important thing when operating a vehicle). Instead, I like to listen to classical music, Radio 4 (depending on the program) and audiobooks. There is something very calming about gentle talking whilst you are driving along – maybe that’s just me though. I also love podcasts too, but that is another post entirely!
Have you managed to keep up with your reading? If so, how do you manage to fit it into your day? I would love to know!