One of the things that became abundantly clear when we wrote about mindfulness, was the important part that reading played in the routines of those who practiced mindfulness as a part of their daily lives.
The blissful image of various entrepreneurs who start their day in the early morning with a cup of hot water and lemon, 10 minutes of meditation and 20 minutes of reading before getting into the grind and buzz of working hours, sounds like heaven to those of us whose heads are frantically grappling with lengthy to-do lists.
But reading isn’t the resulting opportunity of those who practice mindfulness, it’s part of the process that allows for relaxation, headspace and an optimised use of time. Science supports the intuitive belief in the helpful powers of a good book as well, with studies claiming it can help you to relax, keep your brain sharp, help you sleep better, make you more empathetic, and even ease depression.
“By losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination,” researcher Dr. David Lewis told The Telegraph, while research in the Journal of Neurology found that those who engaged in mentally stimulating activities like reading earlier in life showed slower memory decline compared to those who didn’t, later on.
We have been told for years that reading before bed is good for you, if for no other reason than to get you off your iPhone for a while, but experts reckon it can be the ideal part of a wind-down process before going to sleep that allows your brain to slowly switch off, especially if you’re doing it with a dim light rather than glaring computer screens.
In addition to personal feel good factor which (along with other support) reading has proven to have a significant impact on easing depression), a particularly lovely point to emerge is the idea that reading can make you more empathetic seems like a wonderful way to pay forward the positive vibes. According to researchers in the Netherlands, experiments showed that people who were “emotionally transported” by a work of fiction and experienced boosts in empathy.
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