Hellooo everyone and happy Saturday! I hope you are all having a relaxed and happy weekend so far. One of my favourite ways to relax and spend the weekend (which I’ve thankfully been able to do a lot more of since lockdown) is reading. For me, there is nothing more satisfying and peaceful than curling up with a good book and falling into someone else’s story and getting to experience their life and adventure right up until the last page.
Now reading may be an asocial, solo activity (unless you count book clubs and study groups but that’s not really focused on the reading part) but that doesn’t mean you can’t find people to connect with. You can connect with people through a shared love for a certain genre, or author, or simply over the fact that you’d prefer to stay home in your pyjamas and read a book instead of heading out to a club or a party. I’ve been able to connect with so many fellow book lovers, especially through blogging, so today I’m going to do a collab with one of those wonderful people.
Introverted thoughts (from Random Specific Thoughts) and I both love reading, so we really wanted to do a post that linked up with that shared passion. She has a fantastic blog where she shares poems and talks about books (seriously you need to read some of her reviews, they are amazing! I especially love the Harry Potter ones, so be sure to check out her blog here). Together we talk about the history of reading and the benefits of reading as a hobby, but instead of each writing a part and combining it into one long post, we decided to split it. Introverted Thoughts wrote a phenomenal post about the history of reading and how it changed as an activity up until it became the ‘nerdy’, solo hobby we know it as today. Because my post follows her history (and because it’s always great to have context), I suggest you go and check out her blog right now! (Click the link here to read it). I’ll wait …
Did you read it?? It was great wasn’t it? Now that you know some of the history, let’s talk about some of the benefits of reading. It’s not just a great relaxing hobby where you can escape for a couple of hours, and next time someone makes a comment about reading not having any benefits, you’ll have all of these reasons in your arsenal.
It’s gym for your brain (in more ways than one)
We all know what gym for our body can look like – lifting weights, HIIT, or some intense cardio. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of hard work, sweating and effort for those exercises to transform into a fit body with model muscles. Much like with your body though, you can ‘exercise’ your brain through reading and what’s great is it doesn’t take as long as regular gym, it’s far more fun, and there isn’t much sweating involved (depending on how vigorously you read). Reading helps you improve your focus and memory from your brain processing what you’re reading (you need to remember specific details from the beginning so that the ending makes sense and reading teaches your brain to focus so that you can retain and follow the story).
Reading also gives you stronger analytical thinking skills (from processing the facts/story and ‘forcing’ you to develop your own opinions and ways to justify them). Reading also slows down cognitive decline in old age and reduces risks of developing Alzheimer’s and Dementia – so gym in the gym will keep your body young and fit, but reading will do the same thing for your mind.
Helps you develop academic advantages
You know how teachers are always trying to encourage you to read as much as you can? Well, they aren’t just saying it for their own health. Studies have proven time and time again that reading is beneficial in enhancing academic performance. This is because reading material that has been appropriately scripted and edited leads to better writing skills (you are reading how things should be written and phrased to be the most effective), it expands your vocabulary because you are exposed to new words that will become part of your repertoire, and it sharpens your language skills. Just from reading, you learn grammar, spelling, language and sentence structure and how to convey your thoughts concisely and effectively. How fantastic?
Finally, reading also helps you expand your knowledge. No matter what you’re reading, you are taking in information, so you are developing your understanding of the language itself, but also your knowledge of the world because you are absorbing information from the perspective and experience of others.
It works as a de-stressor
If yoga isn’t for you, but you’re looking for a way to lower your stress levels after a hectic day or traumatic week, then you might find reading is the perfect solution. Reading lowers your heart rate and blood pressure because it’s a passive activity, and it helps you relax because it takes your focus off your reality and onto something more pleasant (which also enables you to release tension from your body). Lastly, it boosts your mood so if meditation or namaste pose isn’t helping, try curling up with a good book.
It’s the best sort of entertainment
In this modern age of instant gratification and booming technology, finding good quality entertainment is crucial, and books are the best kind. You can do it anywhere because books are so easy to transport and you don’t need any sort of equipment (unless you’re like me and shouldn’t be reading without your glasses). It doesn’t require any power (unless it’s dark …) and unless we’re talking about audiobooks or kindles, you don’t need to worry about your book ‘running out of battery’. As far as pricing goes, books are not too expensive so as a hobby they won’t break the bank and they come in so many formats! You’ve got soft copies, hard copies, e-books and audiobooks so you can always find a format that suits you.
No risk of serious injury
Unlike other activities, reading is thankfully not an extreme sport. You don’t run the risk of falling off something and breaking a limb, there aren’t any extreme heat sources to cause burns (unlike in cooking), no vicious animals are nearby (i.e. surfing and those lovely sharkies), so if you’re looking for a safe activity, reading is perfect. The only thing you might have to watch out for is papercuts …
It makes you a great conversationalist
What’s fantastic about reading is it gives you lots to talk about. No matter what you read, you become equipped with dozens of conversation topics and starters. So reading may be an asocial solo activity, but it ironically boosts a vital social skill.
You can explore all hobbies
George R. R. Martin said that a reader lives a thousand lives. With that logic, I suppose the same is true to say that a reader explores all hobbies and activities. Because you become a part of the character’s life, you also get involved in all of their activities and hobbies. You may not be trying too many different hobbies in reality, but as a reader, you get to enjoy a taste of all of them!
Anyone can do it
Unlike a lot of other activities that have particular prerequisites, reading is free from all of those. You don’t have to be a certain height like with roller coasters or have a certain amount of dexterity and athleticism like for sports. All you need is to have an open mind and an interest in getting lost in the story or learning more about whatever subject the book talks about.
It allows for ‘mental freedom’
Finally, reading is probably one of the most fantastic opportunities to exercise ‘mental freedom’. When you read, you get transported out of your own life to another world, and it allows you to become part of another person’s story. It lets you feel like you’re living a character’s life and imagine yourself in their shoes and you can stretch and let your imagination run free to bring the words on the page to life in your mind.
And there you have it! I had so much fun writing this blog post because not only did I get to work with a great blogger about something we both love, but it was a fun chance to talk about a hobby that is an incredibly big part of my life. I really hope you enjoyed reading this post, and Introverted Thought’s post – if you haven’t already read it then please do (click here!) . You can check it out on her blog here!
Also, since we’re talking about reading as a hobby, what are some of your all-time favourite books? What’s your favourite genre and who’s your favourite author? Maybe we have some overlaps? Be sure to let me know in the comments section!
Apart from that though, that’s all I have for you today so thanks once again and I hope you enjoyed this reading collab as much as I enjoyed working on it. Until next time.
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx