This interesting and enlightening article by Michael Grothaus at “Fast Company” should be another encouragement to you to be a regular reader. Who doesn’t want to be healthy in body and soul these days? Who doesn’t need to gain perspective on one’s self, on life, and on the world in which we live and work?
As Christians especially, who know the real value of the soul and body, and who are always learning to see the world through the lens of Scripture under the Lordship of Christ, we want to be wide and deep readers. Even though this article is not written from a Christian perspective, it is beneficial to read and learn from.
The full article (worth your time) is linked above; here are a few excerpts:
Reading doesn’t just improve your knowledge, it can help fight depression, make you more confident, empathetic, and a better decision maker.
My favorite book is War and Peace.
And I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, another writer wanting people to think he’s all intellectual and highbrow.”
But it really is my favorite book, only not because it has 1,500 pages of unforgettable characters or a generational plot that is more compelling than that of any other book I’ve read. It’s because right before I started reading it, my life was in a rut. I had recently been passed over for a promotion at Apple and I had just been rejected by a graduate school I applied to. This double whammy left me doubting myself, my abilities, and my future. So when I came across the massive tome that is War and Peace, I thought, “Why not? I’m not doing anything else.”
And after reading through that tome, Grothaus discovered that he had regained some perspective and self-confidence:
Two months later, I finished the book and immediately knew I had a new “favorite.” But it wasn’t my new favorite book just because it was so compelling. It was my new favorite because it changed something in me. It’s almost impossible to explain why, but after reading it I felt more confident in myself, less uncertain about my future.
But according to Dr. Josie Billington, deputy director of the Centre for Research into Reading at the University of Liverpool, my experience wasn’t so odd. It’s actually the norm for people who read a lot—and one of the main benefits of reading that most people don’t know about.
“Reading can offer richer, broader, and more complex models of experience, which enable people to view their own lives from a refreshed perspective and with renewed understanding,” says Billington. This renewed understanding gives readers a greater ability to cope with difficult situations by expanding their “repertoires and sense of possible avenues of action or attitude.”
Further on in the article Grothous quotes other sources that prove the benefits of reading:
“Reading for pleasure in general can also help prevent conditions such as stress, depression, and dementia,” says Wilkinson. “Research has shown that people who read for pleasure regularly report fewer feelings of stress and depression than non-readers. Large scale studies in the U.S. show that being more engaged with reading, along with other hobbies, is associated with a lower subsequent risk of incidents of dementia.”
Wilkinson also notes that people who read books regularly “are on average more satisfied with life, happier, and more likely to feel that the things they do in life are worthwhile.” A recent survey of 1,500 adult readers found that 76% of them said that reading improves their life and helps to make them feel good.
At the end of the article are some practical tips to improve your reading habits; be sure to get to those too!