Settling back against the inviting cushions of a comfy couch with your feet curled up under you and a mug of warm tea kissing your palms sounds like a great way to spend a chilly winter’s morning or evening. Don’t you agree? What could make this scene even better? How about a good book? A story that helps you to disengage from the hustle and bustle of your life and escape into someone else’s for just a tiny bit of time. Maybe it’s a family drama, a spine-tingling thriller, or a memoir. Whatever your guilty pleasure may be, it doesn’t matter. It’s the act of reading that will soothe your soul and calm your spirit.
As a writer, of course, I want everyone to read, but I know that finding the time to read even a few paragraphs can be challenging. While you may think that carving out time to read isn’t as important as scheduling other activities, nurturing this passion can actually improve your health.
Studies conducted in the scientific and medical communities have found that daily reading even for short periods of time can reduce the chances of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other memory-related conditions, improve focus and concentration, and reduce stress. But, did you also know that reading can help you develop empathy and foster a tranquil existence?
Empathetic Readers Extend Kindness Beyond the Page
Turn on the nightly news or scroll through your social media newsfeed and within moments I guarantee you’ll find examples of how judgmental and uncaring the human race can be. We’re used to getting one-sided information from the news media after a violent or disturbing incident, and, often, it is our friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers in the Starbucks line who are more than willing to offer up an opinion about a situation they know little about.
As a human race, we’re born to be kind and generous. It is the rawness of life that hardens us. Reading and escaping into a different reality, learning why people make the choices they make in the face of adversity, helps us tear down the walls we’ve built around our empathetic feelings. Although we may not fully understand why people make the choices they make, compassionate readers are willing to listen.
Reading Is a Pathway to Tranquility
There is a lot of talk about mental health conditioning these days. Whether it is practicing yoga, daily meditation, sipping a cup of sanity (aka coffee), or even taking a morning walk and listening to the birds, it seems we’re all looking for a way to get back to a calmer state of existence. Spending even 10 minutes each day with a book can have a tremendous impact on your mental well-being and happiness.
I have a “car” book and a “tablet” book. My car book is usually a paperback or hardcover that I can easily stick in my purse and read when I am waiting for my daughter to get out of school. I keep my tablet book at home by my bedside for night time or early morning reading. I don’t always have the time for a marathon read, but finding just a few stolen moments to fall into someone else’s story relaxes my soul and rejuvenates my spirit. Think of reading like a facial for the mind.
So, the next time you’re feeling disconnected and wearied try connecting with the written word to find your way back to a peaceful, compassionate existence.
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Piper is the author of the bestselling Amazon novels, The Waiting Room and Missing Girl. She is a Midwestern girl with a So-Cal soul and an NYC wardrobe. A habitual truth-bender turned novelist, Piper seeks to explore the many levels of humanness in her tales. Sign up for Piper’s newsletter or follow her on social media and be the first to learn the release date of her much-anticipated psychological thriller, 60 Days, that takes the reader into the depths of darkness where women are treated as commodities, and two sisters fight to be reunited again.