“That’s the thing about books – they let you travel without moving your feet!”
It helps you ‘listen’
As with any good conversation, when you read you do a lot of listening. You are on the receiving end of a wire transfer of knowledge. This other person, the writer, is imparting something, at the very least one thing, you didn’t have before: a fact, a theory, a point of view, an emotion. They are letting you into a psyche (theirs, their alter ego’s, their main character’s) and letting you in on some secrets. And they are hoping you care enough to truly listen. Reading flexes your empathy. It works your capacity to connect to another person and invest yourself in their story. Even if you vehemently disagree with them, you get to know them, and as any script writer will tell you, that is how you end up using that giving-a-damn muscle. And all of this is possible by simply constantly reading books.
It gives you a sense of ‘belonging’
At the very least, you will connect with the characters in the book. But there’s much more than that: the zeitgeist, the universe, a reality that exists somewhere else or that one day could be yours. Reading is a lifeline to all else that is. Think about it: the book you are reading may have been written decades ago, in another country, maybe even in another language by a person who lived a completely different life. Or it may have been written by someone you met in college. Either way, you are having a conversation with someone else, and, if you nod along enough while reading the book, you’re also finding a new friend and a friendlier existence. Reading reminds you that you are not alone. Your struggles and dreams are shared. Your life is a part of a larger ecosystem. The greatest books comfort you with this sense of belonging.
It ‘teaches you something’
Give any book the opportunity and it will teach you something. Reading books will at least teach you what not to do or say or believe in. Each of them opens up a new window of this universe, and we have the option of letting our eyes widen and start exploring.
The books you read ‘become you’
The most moving books you collect are those that become a mirror. This mirror is placed in front of you when you read something that has you nodding along and thinking, yes, that is how it is. You just found a part of yourself. You may cry, smile, or wince, because that’s you you’re reading. You feel like you’ve been searching this whole time for this moment, but never knew that. The author has perfectly described the world (your world), or reminded you of your past, shone a light on your core beliefs, or lit up that dim hope you carry.
Reading is ‘therapy’
Reading books helps you remain calm. It’s as therapeutic as anything else. Once you start digging into a book that’s caught your attention, time ceases to exist, your mind is completely immersed in what is in front of you. As with anything that fully engages your attention, reading books makes you stop rushing or running from one point to the next. Instead, you are where you need to be, right here, doing this, and all other things are secondary.
Reading improves your ‘mood’
When we read fiction, we temporarily escape. When we read nonfiction, we learn something new. Both these experiences make us feel better. Reading books can get our mind off what’s worrying us. If you stick with it, reading can slowly lift you out of a rut. Reading books stimulates endorphins in the brain that increase happiness.
So, which book are you reading next?
Also read: Don’t be a victim of stress, make it your strength. Here’s how:
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