11 Positive Benefits Of Reading


Everybodies goal should be to read more because reading is a valuable way of self educating yourself and an excellent way of filling in time. 

As young children our mind is fed with stories and information, but sadly as we become adults, we far too often neglect one of the most important tools in life.

Reading is the best way to improve your mind and if you want to get smart and stay smart so you can have the edge over the average person you will need to learn new things and reading is one of the best ways to learn and expand your knowledge. 

Read a variety of books to suit your personal preferences, including fiction books, educational, mysteries and suspense thrillers, science fiction, history, novels, self help books and health related articles, because reading is a great way to feed your mind and spirit. 

The human mind is a never ending processing machine that is always seeking information, reading will help to nourish and stimulate your mind and keeps it engaged which will divert your mind from negative thinking and worrying.

Reading can also help to keep your mental faculties sharp and intact, as it will give your mind a mental workout which will help you to develop your mind instead of allowing it to become stale, dormant and unused. 

Try to make it your goal to read a book every week or two, you can catch a few pages first thing in the morning. If you commute by train or bus you can use that time wisely. 

You can read during your breaks and you can read in the evening, there are plenty of times when you can grab your book and find a little time reading.

Things are always changing, if you don’t read, then you won’t know what you’re missing and you will be devoid of all the latest information.

In some cases a lack of information can rob you of your right to live the best life experience possible and it can even cause you to miss out on vital and helpful information.

Because if you don’t know what’s wrong, you cannot fix it, if you don’t know what’s possible you will not push your boundaries and if you’re not aware of what you’re capable of, then you’re not going to achieve your true potential.

1) Reading Takes Your Mind Off Your Troubles

Burying your head in a book is a great way of taking your focus of attention off your everyday troubles and concerns for a while as it will transports you to seemingly better places of dreamlike and fantasy worlds.

Reading can give you an insight into many different cultures that you may know little about or you were not even aware they even existed.

It can open your mind up to new ways of thinking, perceiving and doing things that you once thought was impossible or not achievable to you. 

Reading is still the best source of information available and it can give you a great edge and distinct advantage in life. The secret to a successful life is information, the answers to nearly all our problems are documented in text somewhere.

As Mark Twain quoted, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read”.

Books can stimulate and excite your imagination as well as arousing your curiosity, everything that exists and has ever existed is documented and can be found in a book, reading can teach you new skills, ideas and give you a new positive outlook on life.

Books can take you out of your world and away from your personal perspectives and difficulties for a while as they let you into the private mind, insights, the ideas and opinions of others.

Reading has many benefits and a book can serve more than one useful purpose at the same time. It is a form of relaxation while at the same time it can stimulate your mind, reading can help you to feel better, books can be our teachers, mentors and supply us with inspiration.

You can learn and better your life just by reading a book, authors and good writers can take you to places and imaginary worlds where no other form of entertainment or technology can rival.

If you want to expand your consciousness and your awareness of reality, then reading is still the best way of achieving this. 

Books can cover a more in depth look and wider scope into topics, as they can delve much deeper into a subject than any television documentary does, a film is often a shortened down version of a book. 

American entrepreneur, creator and businessman Steve Jobs in one of his famous quotes states the importance of reading. He stated that reading and learning are so critical to success, and a lack of information will keep you small and limited.

2) Reading Feeds The Craving Mind 

Our brain is like super powerful advanced computer, and like all good computers the better the information in the better the information out. 

Like all good computers, your mind needs to be fed information to keep it satisfied and stimulated and reading is the best source of input you can feed the brain.

Without new information we become stagnant, we are designed to grow and expand, we have been learning and growing  since the dawn of time and we will keep on doing it forever and a day. To prevent us from growing stale, we need to nourish our brain with new information.

When you don’t stimulate the mind with information or engross it in a compelling and captivating story this can sometimes lead to boredom and a mundane way of life.

Reading feeds your hungry mind with with an endless supply of knowledge and information which it seeks. 

Reading can help to broaden your mind or it can keep you intrigued in a story line where the power of curiosity will make you want to get to the end of the book as quickly as possible.


3) Reading Improves Your Quality Of Conversations

Your vast array of new found knowledge will help you to become more involved in discussions, you will be more able to instigate much more varied and interesting levels of conversations.

Obtaining more information will give you a distinct advantage over the others because you will have gathered a much wider understanding of many subjects and topics of conversation. Limited knowledge can seriously hold you back and leave you feeling left out in some social situations.

Ultimately, this will make you a very much more interesting and refreshing person to be around. Sadly the only topic of conversation these days seems to be all about celebrity gossip or what’s going on in reality TV shows or people’s lives.  

This narrow focus of attention takes our us away from all the wonderful information and events that are going on in the world and beyond.

People underestimate the power gained from reading, which can be priceless, reading expands your knowledge and awareness. Reading will also stimulate your creative imagination. 

However, there is one negative aspect of reading, be careful when you read negative feedback because it can have a strong impact on your perceptions, beliefs and what you do or do not achieve or attempt.

Reading can intrigue you while at the same time it will stir your imagination and unleash the creative part of your mind into action. 

But as well as all the serious stuff, books can be fun too. Reading can take you back into history and days gone by, it can also give you an insight into the now,  the future and the still unknown and unsolved.

4) Reading Engages Your Imagination

Story books can engage you in a world which is miles apart from our own, here you can have a glimpse of what goes on in the lives of many fictional characters.

When you engage your curious mind in a book you can experience empathy, sympathy and compassion with these make believe characters, this shows the power of your imagination as you bring these people and their experiences to life.

You can travel anywhere in a book and you get to meet and engage with the author and their fantasy worlds. Fiction books will allow you to use your imagination to paint your own version of the images, characters, and places.

Every book can give a different representation of the characters and the location to each reader because everybody’s imagination will perceive things slightly differently.

Reading requires you to use your creative imagination, stories stimulate curiosity and they intrigue you, books are the best way of stirring your creativity and absorbing knowledge. 

In fact, reading has such a powerful influence it can change your emotional state, sad stories can make you feel sad, stories of inspiration can motivate and inspire you while happy stories can improve our mood.

5) Helps You To Tap Into The Mind Of The Creative Thinkers

Some of the great books have been written by some of the best and most creative minds, you can delve into what goes on in the inner world of the great thinkers, here you can expand and develop your own mind and knowledge.

Reading can for a pleasant while take you away from normality, it gives you a chance to break free from the everyday rat race where you can enter a domain of fantasy, suspense, curiosity just by engaging your attention in a book.

Or you can gather a bank of informative information from the many self help books currently available where they can supply you with advice or a solution to your problems. 

Reading makes you more wiser not to mention the educational and learning benefits that are gained, it is enjoyable as well as factual. 

Life becomes so much more interesting when you explore new avenues or you venture into somebody else is imagination and creativity. 

You can never stop learning nor should you, our life is simply too short, and because books are small and compact, you can take a book with you anywhere you go and they need no power supply and they won’t get damaged.

Reading is one of the cheapest forms of entertainment, it is even free on the internet or libraries. It can stimulate your analytic thinking abilities and skills,

When you read a story, your mind will jump ahead of you, and it will try and work out and second guess the developing plot or mystery.

When you read a book you will expand your awareness and knowledge, each book or article will make you wiser and more intelligent.

Reading will also help to improve your vocabulary and if you enjoy writing, well written books will help you to improve your own writing abilities.


6) All Leaders And Successful People Read

Books are very powerful, they change and transforms lives. Nearly all successful people will tell you that there is at least one book that they read that completely turned around and transformed their life.

Information and knowledge can mean power, it can lead to inspiration and success, but only if you apply the right information to help you better your life.

But reading, is not just about information. Reading can also bring you great enjoyment and laughter which is great for your well-being, while the mystery novels will stimulate your imagination.

Reading can help you with loneliness or boredom, reading is an ideal way to pass the time away, especially on those long journeys or flights. 

There is nothing better than spending some lazy time on holiday or at weekends relaxing with your head buried in a book where you can quieten your mind, so make books your loyal friend and companion. 

Most people end up living their life in a kind of groundhog day. They think mostly the same old unhelpful thoughts day in day out because their mind has nothing better to focus on. You cannot succeed in life with limited knowledge and information.

The mind also loves a story, we are told stories from the moment we are born, many hypnotherapists use metaphors and stories because they are powerful ways of influencing the subconscious mind.

7) Reading  Stimulates Your Creativity  

Not many people have achieved success without knowledge and learning, the best way to absorb and acquire knowledge is through reading. One of the most powerful yet probably underestimated personal development tools is reading. 

The benefits of reading are limitless and it is an age old tradition and past time which will never become dated. With the technological revolution forever gathering pace many people now overlook the many health and therapeutic benefits of reading.

Reading helps you to become smarter and intelligent. One of the big advantages of reading a book, magazine or article is, it can help you expand spiritually and mentally, it can increase your intellect, improve your focus of concentration thus making you a wiser and interesting person.  

Other advantages of reading books also include, helping you to improve your spelling and vocabulary words.

If you live on your own or you spend long periods of time by yourself and you’re fed of watching TV, then reading can be a great alternative, and once you become engrossed in a good book you can lose all track of time.

Many people like to grab a book and just put their feet up and forget all their cares and worries for a while as they experience and enjoy the peace and tranquility gained by switching off and forgetting about the rest of the world, and you can never be alone if you are reading.

8) Reading A Book Can Improve Your Health

A lot of people find that reading can help them unwind and relax at night, it can help you to drift off to sleep more easily, because you’re leaving behind your troubles of the day as you allow your immersion in your book to relax you.  

Reading works the memory and helps improve your concentration, this helps to exercise and boost your memory powers because it encourages you to remember characters and facts.

Reading can stimulate the mind either through learning from fiction books or from non fiction as you engage your imagination in trying to work out story lines and plots especially in the murder mystery novels and the who done it.

Many women read romantic novels, probably because their partners are taking them for granted or not paying them enough attention. What you learn from reading can help you improve and better your life in many ways.

When you read, not only does it reduce your stress by taking your focus of attention off your worries, the mental activity your receiving which acts like a workout for the mind is believed to be beneficial to help slow down or prevent the onset of dementia. 

The mind is like the body, it needs exercise just like your muscles do, once you engage yourself in a good book, your focus of attention will shift off your troubles as you become oblivious to what’s happening in the outside world.

Other benefits of reading are, it can help you pass away the time and help to beat boredom, it is also great activity and companion, if you’re lonely or if you have to spend long periods on your own.


 9) Reading Can Help You Solve Your Problems

Many of the answers and solutions to our problems can be found or solved by reading and learning and now with the advancement of technology and the internet, websites and e-books the wealth of knowledge and information is limitless and readily available to us all at the touch of a button.

There are many health benefits associated with reading, the benefit reading gives your health are double edged. First, you can acquire the appropriate information which can help you to improve your health and your life.  

Secondly if you read on a regular basis it can help you to relax and quieten your mind which in turn can help you reduce your stress levels.

Other benefits of reading as far as your emotional well-being and your physical health is concerned are, it can give you some rest bite from the worries and anxieties of modern day life. 

When you are worried or experiencing periods of anxiety you can get stuck in your head, reading will shift your focus away from your troubles and concerns because your focus of attention goes onto the book or article you are reading and away from those petty worries.

This can soon begin to help you relax your mind and body and give you some much needed rest which can help you energize yourself. Also with the wealth of health and self-help knowledge about you can learn how to overcome your problems through reading.

Many of the most successful entrepreneurs and gurus started off on their road to success by reading a book.

The famous “Think and Grow Rich” book written by Napoleon Hill has made over 500 millionaires and the formula to his strategy has been used by many of the world’s finest entrepreneurs, it has been attributed to the success of some of the most wealthiest people worldwide. 


10) Reading Helps You To Grow

The benefits of reading are enormous, some books will inspire you, reading about other people’s success stories or how they have overcome near seemingly impossible feats which have required immense courage and determination can give you great inspiration to go on and achieve your dreams with the knowing that if other people have already done it then so can you.

Reading inspirational stories or reading where people have already achieved what you’re aiming to achieve can give you the motivation you need, knowing it can be done can encourage you. 

Reading is significant, everybody who wants to better their life should read more, because when we stop learning you stop growing and in this life you do one of two things, you either move forward in life or you stay where you are.

You can never stop learning and there is an endless supply of knowledge, information and entertainment available in the form of books, so forget about your daily troubles for a while and lose yourself in a good book, because the more you read the wiser you will become and the more you will know.

Many people struggle to find the time for reading, but because there are so many advantages of reading, then it can pay to find some here quiet, where you can have some much needed and valuable rest and relaxation, where for a while you can shut yourself off this sometimes hectic world we live in.  

When most people try and relax normally they find it hard to switch off their racing mind. Sometimes it can be difficult for some people to simply shut of their thoughts.

This is where the benefits of reading come into play, you can get that much needed rest and you can keep the mind occupied at the same time.

The beauty of this is you get your relaxation and you can learn at the same time. This will keep the mind nourished and enriched and it will improve your memory and concentration at the same time so you cannot lose.

If you need a solution to a problem, then it is better to learn and study from those who have already got the answers to what you’re looking for rather than starting from scratch and trying to figure it all out yourself.

11) The More You Read The More You Know 

Books have been around for hundreds of years, the pen and paper has been around a lot longer than television and computer video games. Before computers and the digital age, books were the only way of recording and storing information.  

Although the benefits of reading are priceless, it is important to realize that reading can be very damaging and self destructive if you absorb and believe negative opinions and destructive information.

Avoid all negative information, the wrong or unhelpful information or suggestions can be misleading, damaging, it can shatter your dreams and ambitions.

It can dishearten you and fill you with negative and limiting beliefs. So any information you feel is unhelpful, reject it immediately and stop reading it.

This article is published in Self Help Fix.
Web link: https://selfhelpfix.com/benefits-of-reading.php

Roald Dahl: the best gobblefunk words

Browse through complete collection of Roald Dahl Books.
Website: http://libertybooks.com/SearchBook.aspx?sea=Roald%20Dahl&id=-1

Did you know Roald Dahl invented 500 words and character names, from the Oompa-Loompas and whizzpopping to the less well known humplecrimp, lixivate and zoonk? Susan Rennie, chief editor of The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary, takes us on phizz-whizzing tour of the most scrumdiddlyumptious words

Have you ever wondered what language Oompa-Loompas speak, or what the plural is of quadropus, or what rhymes with frobscottle? Or what the difference is between a whangdoodle and a giant wangdoodle (hint: only one is deadly)? Then the Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary is here to help you.

Roald Dahl invented over 500 words and character names, from the famousOompa-Loompas and whizzpopping to lesser-known Dahlisms like humplecrimp,lixivate, sogmire and zoonk, but this is the first time many of them have featured in a dictionary. It may also be the first time that the words snozzberry,snozzcumber and snozzwanger have appeared on the same page as one another, as they occur in different stories. Whereas slimy snozzcumbers grow in Giant Country, the more appetizing snozzberries are found, contrariwise, in the land of the tiny Minpins (though somehow Willy Wonka also manages to source them for his lickable wallpaper). And snozzwangers? Well, you’ll have to look in the dictionary for those.

Dahl knew how much children (and their grown-ups) love words like these, with letter combinations that are fun to pronounce, such as –ozz or –izz, or –iggle or -obble: hence creations like the fizzwiggler, the whiffswiddle and thegrobblesquirt (who wouldn’t like saying grobblesquirt?), as well as gobblefunkitself, the name we now give to the lexicon of words he invented. He often built new words from old, swopping prefixes and blending syllables to create words like mispise, poppyrot and sogmire; and he particularly loved the word play of alliteration (good for insults such as grizzly old grunion) and spoonerisms, such asmideous harshland or the inspired Dahl’s Chickens (aka Charles Dickens).

All these words, and many like them, feature in the new dictionary. But a Dahl dictionary needs to help readers young and old to navigate through the whole of Dahl’s world, so it also explains unusual words you may encounter there, such assteeplejack and rapscallion, as well as more humdrum words which have special significance in the stories, such as the humble alarm-clock and egg-beater (used in unlikely ways by witches and giants respectively). And if you are a budding Matilda, it will also help you to find the perfect word to describe Dahl’s characters, whether they be hirsute (Mr Twit), asinine (Mr Wormwood) or oviform(Knids) – and to learn some very rude words used by giants (let’s just saybopmuggered).

So don’t be biffsquiggled any longer! Here are some key Dahl words from the dictionary:

If you feel biffsquiggled, you are confused or puzzled. The word biffsquiggled is made up of biff ‘punch’ and squiggled, as when you are biffsquiggled, you feel as if your brain is reeling from a punch and is as muddled as a squiggly piece of doodling.

Frobscottle is a green fizzy drink that giants drink instead of water. Unlikesnozzcumbers it tastes delicious. The bubbles in frobscottle sink down rather than rise up, so if you drink a lot, you end up whizzpopping.

If you gobblefunk with words, you play around with them and invent new words or meanings. The word gobblefunk sounds a bit like gobbledegook, a kind of language that some grown-ups use that is full of meaningless words.

A human bean is what the giants of Giant Country call a human. (It sounds a bit like human being, but tastier.) Most giants eat human beans, but the BFG is a vegetarian giant, so he only eats snozzcumbers.

A snozzcumber is a knobbly vegetable like an enormous cucumber with black and white stripes. Snozzcumbers taste disgusting but they are all the BFG has to eat, as he refuses to hunt human beans like other giants.

Phizz-whizzing and whizzpopping may sound similar, but they mean very different things! Something that is phizz-whizzing is excellent or splendid.Whizzpopping, on the other hand, is what happens when air comes out of your bottom with a popping sound (as when you drink a lot of frobscottle). Giants findwhizzpopping more socially acceptable than burping.

Scrumdiddlyumptious food is utterly delicious. The Fleshlumpeating Giant is very keen to eat the Queen, as he thinks she will have ‘an especially scrumdiddlyumptious flavour.’

A trogglehumper is one of the very worst nightmares you can have. (Words that Dahl invented that start with trog– always mean unpleasant things!)

Zozimus is what dreams are made of. The BFG whisks zozimus with an egg-beater until it forms bubbles just like soapy water.

Susan Rennie is the chief editor of the Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary 2016, and all definitions in this article are taken from the book.

This article is published in The Guardian.com.

Website: http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2016/jun/14/roald-dahl-dictionary-best-gobblefunk-words?CMP=fb_gu

‘Indus Raag’ producer wins Global Music Award

Indus Raag – Music Beyond Borders by Tehzeeb now available at Liberty Books stores and online.

Website: http://libertybooks.com/bookdetail.aspx?pid=26731

Tehzeeb Foundation patron and music producer Sharif Awan has won a gold medal at the Global Music Awards (GMA).

The laurel has been conferred upon him for the album Indus Raag: Music Beyond Borders which is a part of the Indus Raag project that aims to archive the legacy of sub-continental music tradition.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Awan said he has been selected among nine artists from various countries for the medal. This is the first time a Pakistani album has featured in an international award show. “It really is an achievement for all those who have been associated with the project and have worked tirelessly to make it a success,” he added. Awan hoped the project will continue to play its role in the conservation and promotion of Eastern classical music.

It is pertinent to mention that Indus Raag: Music Beyond Borders was Pakistan’s first indigenous entry to get shortlisted for the 57th Grammys.

GMAs are held ever1125273-image-1466261508-643-640x480.JPGy year in California, USA, acknowledging services of people from different countries and cultural backgrounds for world music.

Last week, Awan announced the digital release of Indus Raag 2 — Karachi Concerts, the second album in the series. It comprises 10 hours worth of recordings that feature as many as 65 musicians from Pakistan, India, UK, Germany, France and Turkey. Recorded between 2009 and 2015, it includes names such as Ustad Rais Khan, Ustad Naseeruddin Saami, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan, Grammy-winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the Gundecha Brothers and Ashraf Sharif Khan.

This article is published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2016.
Web link: http://tribune.com.pk/story/1125273/indus-raag-producer-wins-global-music-award/

‘Game Of Thrones’ And ‘A Song Of Ice And Fire’ May End Very, Very Differently

A Song of Ice and Fire (1) – A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin available at Liberty Books store and online.
Web Link: http://libertybooks.com/bookdetail.aspx?pid=25482

Game of Thrones
is making its way through its sixth season, and doing quite a good job of surprising book readers and show watchers alike with new twists and turns. The show has now sailed past the vast majority of the written material from George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Some fans bemoan the fact that he wasn’t able to get the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, written before this season, but there was never going to be any way the seventh book would be out in time before the end of the entire run of the HBO series, so the point is kind of moot. This was bound to happen eventually no matter what.

While I think HBO has done a great job carrying Martin’s story forward, it’s becoming more and more clear that Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire are very, very different entities, and ones that may play out dramatically different over the last seasons of the show, and the next few books.

George RR Martin often speaks about the “butterfly effect” of the show, where seemingly small changes snowball into major ones as time goes on. While the earliest seasons of Game of Thrones stuck pretty closely to the books, small changes were made, and over time, they have blossomed into full-on differences that now makes some aspects of the show and books unrecognizable from each other.

 What this is leading to is a situation where we might have two very different endings for this series, one for Game of Thrones, one for A Song of Ice and Fire, and I want to talk a little bit about why that almost has to be the case in many ways, given what’s been changed so far.

This article is published in Forbes.
Web link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/05/22/game-of-thrones-and-a-song-of-ice-and-fire-may-end-very-very-differently/#1c8c15ca1e6f25482_51Vb90Q1SlL.jpg

Self-Improvement The Surprising Power of Reading Fiction: 9 Ways it Make Us Happier and More Creative

“There is no doubt fiction makes a better job of the truth.” ― Doris Lessing

One of the most inspiring perks we’re lucky enough to have at Buffer is a free Kindle for each teammate (and her family!) and as many free Kindle books as you like, no questions asked.

What’s interesting—and maybe a bit counter-intuitive—is that reading fiction can provide many of those same self-improvement benefits, even while exploring other worlds through stories that exist only in the mind.

In fact, the practice of using books, poetry and other written words as a form of therapy has helped humans for centuries. Fiction is a uniquely powerful way to understand others, tap into creativity and exercise your brain.

The next time you feel even a tiny bit guilty for picking up a work of fiction instead of a self-help book, consider these 9 benefits of reading fiction.

1. Empathy: Imagining creates understanding

To put yourself in the shoes of others and grow your capacity for empathy, you can hardly do better than reading fiction.  Multiple studies have shown that imagining stories helps activate the regions of your brain responsible for better understanding others and seeing the world from a new perspective.

When the psychologist Raymond Mar analyzed 86 fMRI studies, he saw substantial overlap in the brain networks used to understand stories and the networks used to navigate interactions with other individuals.

“…In particular, interactions in which we’re trying to figure out the thoughts and feelings of others. Scientists call this capacity of the brain to construct a map of other people’s intentions ‘theory of mind.’ Narratives offer a unique opportunity to engage this capacity, as we identify with characters’ longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies, neighbors and lovers.”

ann patchett quote

That’s because when we read about a situation or feeling, it’s very nearly as if we’re feeling it ourselves. As Fast Company reports:

Two researchers from Washington University in St. Louis scanned the brains of fiction readers and discovered that their test subjects created intense, graphic mental simulations of the sights, sounds, movements, and tastes they encountered in the narrative. In essence, their brains reacted as if they were actually living the events they were reading about.

2. Disengagement: Reading is most effective for stress

Your brain can’t operate at maximum capacity 24/7—far from it. We all need periods of disengagement to rest our cognitive capabilities and get back to peak functionality.

Tony Schwartz talks about this as one of the most overlooked elements of our lives: Even the fastest racing car can’t win the race with at least one or two great pit stops. The same holds true for ourselves. If we don’t have “pit-stops” built into our days, there is now chance we can race at a high performance.

And reading fiction is among the very best ways to get that disengaged rest. The New Yorker reports that:

Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.

Research at the University of Sussex shows that reading is the most effective way to overcome stress, beating out other methods like listening to music or taking a walk.

Within 6 minutes of silent reading, participants’ heart rates slowed and tension in their muscles eased up to 68%. Psychologists believe reading works so well because the mind’s concentration creates a distraction that eases the body’s stress.

reading and stress

3. Sleep: Regular readers sleep better

In fact, the kind of relaxed disengagement that reading creates can become the perfect environment for helping you sleep.

Creating a sleep ritual is a great way to build up a consistent sleep pattern. One of the key things is to have the last activity completely disengage you from the tasks of the rest of your day.

Buffer’s CEO, Joel, has a ritual in the evening of going for a short walk and, upon returning, going straight to bed and reading a fiction book. He reports that it helps him disengage from the work he’s done in the day and get the sleep he needs to wake up refreshed and ready for the next day.

Serial optimizer Tim Ferriss also believes in the power of reading before bed—fiction only:

“Do not read non-fiction prior to bed, which encourages projection into the future and preoccupation/planning. Read fiction that engages the imagination and demands present-state attention. Recommendations for compulsive non-fiction readers includeMotherless Brooklyn and Stranger in a Strange Land.”

4. Improved relationships: Books are a ‘reality simulator’

Life is complicated. Oftentimes, interpersonal relationships and challenges don’t have the simple resolutions we might like. How can we become more accepting of this reality? By using fiction to explore ideas of change, complex emotions and the unknown.

Keith Oatley, an emeritus professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto,proposed to the New York Times that reading produces a kind of reality simulation that “runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers.”

Fiction, Dr. Oatley notes, “is a particularly useful simulation because negotiating the social world effectively is extremely tricky, requiring us to weigh up myriad interacting instances of cause and effect. Just as computer simulations can help us get to grips with complex problems such as flying a plane or forecasting the weather, so novels, stories and dramas can help us understand the complexities of social life.”

fiction for relationships

Writer Eileen Gunn suggests that reading science fiction, in particular, helps us accept change more readily:

“What science fiction does, especially in those works that deal with the future, is help people understand that things change and that you can live through it. Change is all around us. Probably things change faster now than they did four or five hundred years ago, particularly in some parts of the world.”

5. Memory: Readers have less mental decline in later life

We know that hearing a story is a great way to remember information for the long-term.

Now there’s also evidence that readers experience slower memory declined later in life compared to non-readers. In particular, later-in-life readers have a 32 percent lower rate of mental decline compared to their peers.

In addition to slower memory decline, those who read more have been found to show less characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2001 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

6. Inclusivity: Stories open your mind

Can reading Harry Potter make us more inclusive, tolerant and open-minded? One study says yes. (A butterbeer toast for everyone!)

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, tested whether the novels ofHarry Potter could be used as a tool for improving attitudes toward stigmatized groups.

After 3 experiments in which students read passages of the books about discrimination, the students showed changed attitudes about everything from immigrants to gay students.

Mic reports that “the researchers credited the books with improving readers’ ability to assume the perspective of marginalized groups. They also claimed that young children, with the help of a teacher, were able to understand that Harry’s frequent support of “mudbloods” was an allegory towards bigotry in real-life society.”

7. Vocabulary: Fiction readers build more language

We all want the kind of vocabulary that can help us express ourselves and connect with others.

Fiction can help you get there. A 2013 Emory University compared the brains of people after they read fiction (specifically, Robert Harris’ Pompeii over nine nights) to the brains of people who didn’t read.

The brains of the readers showed more activity in certain areas than those who didn’t read—especially the left temporal cortex, the part of the brain typically associated with understanding language.

The website testyourvocab.com analyzed millions of its test-takers to discover the somewhat expected conclusion that reading more builds a bigger vocabulary. What was less expected was how much of a difference the type of reading made: Fiction readers were significantly more likely to have a larger vocabulary:

vocabulary size of readers

The study noted: “That fiction reading would increase vocabulary size more than just non-fiction was one of our hypotheses — it makes sense, after all, considering that fiction tends to use a greater variety of words than non-fiction does. However, we hadn’t expected its effect to be this prominent.”

8. Creativity: Fictions allows for uncertainty (where creativity thrives!)

In the movies, we often long for a happy ending. Have you noticed that fiction can be much more ambiguous?

That’s exactly what makes it the perfect environment for creativity. A study published inCreativity Research Journal asked students to read either a short fictional story or a non-fiction essay and then measured their emotional need for certainty and stability.

Researchers discovered that the fiction readers had less need for “cognitive closure” than those who read non-fiction, and added:

“These findings suggest that reading fictional literature could lead to better procedures of processing information generally, including those of creativity.”

9. Pleasure: Reading makes you happier

All the above factors are great. But the very biggest reason I try to read every single day? I love it. It makes me happy, and I’m not alone—a survey of 1,500 adult readers in the UK found that 76% of them said reading improves their life and helps to make them feel good.

Other findings of the survey are that those 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.

It’s fascinating to me to think about how much has changed in American life and media during the years in the chart below, published by Pew. Somehow reading for pleasure has been able to hang in there throughout—even with the advent of the Internet, smart phones and so many more attention-zapping inventions.

This article is published in Buffer.com.
Web link: https://open.buffer.com/reading-fiction/

8 Reasons Why Reading is So Important

Why Reading is So Important?

Everyone knows that reading is important, but have you ever asked yourself why that is so? In this post, I will list out 8 reasons why reading is important. I hope you can really find out the reason why reading is so important for you, so you can get a brand new desire to explore the world of reading.


1. Expose Yourself to New Things

Through reading, you expose yourself to new things, new information, new ways to solve a problem, and new ways to achieve one thing. Who knows – you might find your new hobbies within it. Who knows – you might actually explore one thing you really like and it may end up becoming your career and success in the future. Exploration begins from reading and understanding.


2. Self Improvement

Reading does help you form a better you, doesn’t it?  Through reading, you begin understand the world more. Through reading, you begin to have a greater understanding on a topic that interest you; for example: how to build self confidence, how to make plan better before taking action, how to memorize things better and more. All of these self improvements start from the reading; through reading, you create a structured path towards a better understanding and better actions to take in the future.

3. Improve Understanding

The more you read, the more you understand one thing: the A to Z of a thing. Let me give an example here: reading allows you learn more about crocodiles and their habits. That you need to be aware of places it usually lurks for, the purpose of staying away from being harmed or bitten. Or perhaps you can try by real life experience, in approaching the crocodile, to see what happen. It can also help you find out the truth of something, right? Reading also increases the understanding of the rules of life, in order for you to adapt, adopt and accommodate into the society better. To play well in a game, you first need to understand the rules well.


4. Preparation to Action

Before you take action on anything, where should you seek for help and guidance? Reading is an essential way which can help you out. In today’s world, getting reviews and feedback from other people can make a big impact on your next decision, and the pros and cons of each choice. Read about how to cook a meal; how to play chess; which place is nice for the holiday family trip; read the menu before ordering food, read the manual before using a new gadget. These all can help you become more prepared before you really get into it.

Read > Learn > Do > Achieve

Reading is a starting step of many things, which build a more solid stairs for you to climb up achieving something big out there.


5. Gain Experience from Other People

When you are reading, you are actually gaining the knowledge and experience of someone. It can hasten your success towards a goal, as you don’t need to repeat the same mistake while focusing on the right path in achieving one thing. It’s like a mountain of gems for you to discover in books, which contain people’s successes, failures and advice. Life is too short for you to keep repeating the mistakes that had been done by other people in the past, in order for you to reach the results that someone might already reached. There are more than four thousand billionaires and 12 million millionaires today. To become one of them, the first thing is to learn and get to know their past, what they did in the past that makes them where they are today. Reading is a great path to get to know them, and learn from these great people.

The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one’s encounter with it in a book.  | André Maurois


6. Tools of Communicating

Communication is the most important tool which can be transmitted through reading. As you communicate through reading, you understand more, and thus you can communicate better with people. As with a person that knows nothing, he hasn’t had anything to share, and he probably doesn’t even understand what people are sharing. Through reading, you build a more solid foundation for communication. It is one of the most important tools we use every day to connect with each other. Whereas if you don’t read, you can’t even connect with the world and what people are talking about out there, including understanding what this article is all about. Reading connects you with the world.


7. Connecting Your Brain

When reading, you’re in full silence because reading connects directly to your brain. In silence, you seek for more; in silence, your brain is clear and focuses. Thus, you learn and grow, and therefore you feel and see from the point of view of the author about everything in life. Hence you shape a better self.

Because silence exists with total abandon, it is fearless. Because silence is fearless, it holds the power that can break through any barrier. | On Silence

8. Boost Imagination and Creativity

Reading exposes you to a world of imagination, showing you nothing is impossible in this world. By reading, you are exploring a different angle to see a thing you’ve known, on how different action leads to different results. Books are beyond imagination. It’s like a huge spider web, where you keep linking to more and more to things you knew, and things you just learn, structuring  new solutions and answers.

This article is published in Inspiration Boost. 
Web link: http://www.inspirationboost.com/8-reasons-why-reading-is-so-important


How to Read a Book a Week

It was the late 1980s and I was sitting in a university lecture hall listening to Abbie Hoffman, an author and an activist, ranting about my generation’s indifference. Next to me was Gloria Emerson, a brilliant and eccentric journalist and author. We were discussing Hoffman’s talk when I told her how much I loved being in the thick of all these ideas.

“It’s such a unique opportunity to be here,” I said to her, “to be part of these conversations with smart, thoughtful people.”

“Oh, don’t be silly,” she responded. “Anybody can be part of these conversations. Just read some books!”

Ironically, as a history major, I was reading three to four books a week. And Gloria was right: through these books, I had a seat at the table. I was part of a cutting-edge conversation that was going on between great minds.

Flash forward too many years, and I am now back in that conversation. Since I startedmy podcast, I read as many nonfiction books as I can — at least one a week. It’s a requirement, first, to decide if I want to speak with an author and share their ideas, and, second, to make the conversation valuable if I do decide to have them on as a guest. (This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised at how many times I have been interviewed by people who have not read any of my books.)

I am richer for all this reading. I know more and take more risks as I apply what I’m learning. I also feel more confident in my own views and actions, as well as empathize and understand others better, since I have more context.

But reading is time-consuming. I was already over-busy before I started reading several books a week. And I am a slow reader.

I tried the traditional shortcuts, but none of them worked. Reading the PR materials is insufficient for understanding a book, and executive summaries are awful. I have never read an executive summary that came close to conveying what’s interesting and useful about an author’s work.

So how can we read a book or more a week? It turns out that what works best for me is following some advice I got while I was still in college. Michael Jimenez, a professor of Latin American history, was one of the best professors I ever had. One day I told him that I was struggling with the reading load.

“I hope you’re not reading these books word-for-word like they’re fiction books,” he told me.

I told him I was.

He looked around the room and the other students sheepishly nodded alongside me. So he pulled a number of us together and taught us how to read nonfiction.

“Listen,” he said, “you don’t need to read these books. You need to understand them.”

He explained more: Fiction demands that we enter a world of the author’s making, inspiring a more immersive experience. Nonfiction — at least the type we tend to read to support our work as business leaders — makes a point and asks us to learn from it.

As readers, we gain momentum with each book we read. The more we read, the more quickly we can understand their perspectives and where they fit into a conversation they’re having with other authors, and the more informed we are when we use their advice or incorporate their perspectives into our work.

In other words, the more books we read, the faster it goes.

Here’s Professor Jimenez’s advice on reading nonfiction, with a few additions of my own:

  1. Start with the author. Who wrote the book? Read his or her bio. If you can find a brief interview or article online about the author, read that quickly. It will give you a sense of the person’s bias and perspective.
  2. Read the title, the subtitle, the front flap, and the table of contents. What’s the big-picture argument of the book? How is that argument laid out? By now, you could probably describe the main idea of the book to someone who hasn’t read it.
  3. Read the introduction and the conclusion. The author makes their case in the opening and closing argument of the book. Read these two sections word for word but quickly. You already have a general sense of where the author is going, and these sections will tell you how they plan to get there (introduction) and what they hope you got out of it (conclusion).
  4. Read/skim each chapter. Read the title and anywhere from the first few paragraphs to the first few pages of the chapter to figure out how the author is using this chapter and where it fits into the argument of the book. Then skim through the headings and subheadings (if there are any) to get a feel for the flow. Read the first sentence of each paragraph and the last. If you get the meaning, move on. Otherwise, you may want to read the whole paragraph. Once you’ve gotten an understanding of the chapter, you may be able to skim over whole pages, as the argument may be clear to you and also may repeat itself.
  5. End with the table of contents again. Once you’ve finished the book, return to the table of contents and summarize it in your head. Take a few moments to relive the flow of the book, the arguments you considered, the stories you remember, the journey you went on with the author.

Throughout my reading, I take notes in preparation for my conversation with the author. Where do I agree? Where do I disagree? What questions are still simmering? What might I want to discuss with others or think more about in the coming days? These notes are a good idea for every reader to take.

Here’s the interesting thing about reading a book like this: while it’s much faster than a traditional reading (it takes me 1–2 hours to read a book, instead of the usual 6–8), you will retain far more.

That’s because you’re not simply reading the material; you’re actively engaging with it. Your mind is alert the whole time and you’re able to see the book more holistically. You’re not just taking it in; you’re figuring it out.

When I started my podcast, it was with the intention of giving people spectator seats to conversations I was having with smart, thoughtful people about their passions, learnings, and perspectives. What took me a little by surprise is how much we all already have access to those people simply by reading them. Yes, I am enriched by these conversations. But 90% of that is because I have read what the author has written.

We can all read books and listen to podcast conversations with smart, thoughtful people. We can all have access to great ideas and apply them to our lives.

In other words, with a little effort, we can all go to back to college.

This article is published in Harvard Business Review.
Web link: https://hbr.org/2016/02/how-to-read-a-book-a-week