You’ve got 900 channels and nothing to watch. Those cat videos are getting a little old.
What do you do with those precious leisure hours? You could visit ancient China, discover secrets of the Czars, delve into a secret romance. All of that is at the tip of your fingers in a book, and what you get in return is more than a good story.
According to the Pew Research Center, about a quarter of Americans didn’t read a single book in 2018. Not a print copy, e-book or audiobook.
Scientists say that they missed out — according to Healthline, reading is a great way to give your brain a workout. It stimulates a complex series of circuits and signals in your brain, and the more you engage with a text, the busier your brain gets. Fiction lovers are often better at understanding others, which can help build and maintain strong relationships and lead to better emotional health. Reading is also a great way to preserve brain health as you age — according to the National Institute on Aging, it’s one of several activities that can help preserve cognitive function. And it’s a great stress reliever, too. Thirty minutes of reading has been found to lower blood pressure, heart rate and negative feelings, according to Healthline.
One easy way to fit in a few extra pages is to read in the morning instead of at night. Instead of hitting the snooze button, grab your book, dive in for a few extra minutes and then roll out of bed to start the day. If you want to add in some extra time at night, that’s fine, but morning reading means you won’t fall asleep before you even crack your book.
Smartphones and e-readers also make it easier to read whenever, wherever. You can slip your e-reader into your pocket or download an e-reader app on your phone. That way, you can take in a couple of pages while in line at the coffee shop or during your lunch break.
And lastly, if you don’t like a particular book, stop reading it and pick up something else. If you read what you enjoy, you might find that it isn’t very hard to get those pages in after all.
Image by Jose Antonio Alba