Many people turn to television as soon as they have a moment of rest and relaxation. Whether regular channels, Netflix or Disney+, the certain thing is that every day millions of people stop in front of these screens to ‘pass the time’.
For years, many have wondered how much this habit affects our health and whether it is beneficial to our lives. Nevertheless, we are not here today to talk about this but about another much-discussed question.
From the time we are small, we are told by any adult to start reading.
Often it is the teachers in schools who try to infect children with a love of reading and do so with forced readings during the holidays (they achieve very little).
Although reading has existed for thousands of years, since the beginning of our history, it often loses the battle against TV shows when it comes to entertainment. TV has enabled a much faster and more direct exchange of information.
In a few minutes you can have the answers to all your questions and more.
Want to get away from reality for a while?
Easy, turn on the TV and watch an action movie and forget about your problems for two and a half hours.
Books, on the other hand, are much less immediate. It will take you many hours and days to finish the story of a book and it is not what you would call immediate enjoyment.
In short, everyone tells us that reading is better, that it is good for you, but no one ever explains why.
Why, instead of sitting comfortably on the sofa and watching some TV series, should you use a pile of paper to entertain yourself?
If you’re stressed, you certainly don’t feel like reading, do you?
Here today I will explain exactly why reading is better than wearing out your eyes in front of the television.
(Don’t take this article as a ‘you don’t have to watch TV’, I understand the pleasure and I am the first to enjoy the world of cinema, but it is good to have other options)
Let’s start with something I have already mentioned, health.
It helps the memory
When we read, it is like our brain is riding a bicycle. Our body needs sport to stay healthy but our brain, the most important machine, is no different.
Studies have shown that our brain creates new connections between neurons when reading. It makes them stronger. Our memory is deeply linked to these connections, so training them allows us to remember better and faster.
These benefits also create additional protection against diseases that afflict the brain, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. In comparison, the brains of readers (and writers) declined much more slowly than non-readers. Read more here.
Breaking away from screens is good for your eyesight
You know when you’re sitting quietly at the computer, you start to feel a tingling sensation in your eyes and realise you’ve been at that desk for five hours straight?
Or when you are on the phone so much that your eyes start to water and your back starts to creak?
These are all signs. Your body is screaming at you, begging you, to move your eyes and do anything else that doesn’t involve harmful screens.
And the perfect choice is books. You will continue to entertain yourself, to pass the time but without ruining your health. Rest your eyes and enjoy something slower and certainly less stressful than the web.
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Reading helps cardiovascular health. It is certainly not shocking that sitting and relaxing in front of a good book calms our minds. And the heart receives the same effect.
It is very similar to meditation – instead of lying down with your eyes closed and listening to your breath, you sit in silence and devote your time to your imagination. You receive the same benefits.
Reading lowers your blood pressure and calms your heart beats, so you really have no excuse to avoid it.
The illusion of having lived another life and receiving the teachings from it
A benefit really not to be underestimated. . “I’m a reader, not because I don’t have a life, but because I chose to have more”.
As readers, we are not satisfied with everyday life. We want more, love, fantasy, and magic. We want to live to the full. And when our life does not give us these things, we strive to experience them in other ways.
When we read we live and feel what the characters live and feel.
We become them.
And we grow with them.
Whatever the book, after reading it we will no longer be the same as we were before reading. We will have learnt something, we will be wiser, more empathetic.
You, the reader, will have so much more.
Our own inner thinking will be forever, and irrevocably, changed.
If you want to read a little about this topic go here.
Improve your vocabulary
Many of the readers of this blog are also writers. So it seems only fair to highlight this benefit. Reading improves, and by a lot, your vocabulary.
It is the easiest and fastest way to improve. Reading a text written by other writers with critical eyes gives us great insights into our own stories.
To learn, I love reading the classics. They usually have amazing grammar and excellent logic that one cannot help but admire.
If you study and keep writing, day after day, nothing, and I mean nothing, can stop you from becoming the next Oscar wilde.
If you must dream, dream big.
Let’s take the assumption that I convinced you to pick up a book (you’d better after my many efforts), here I link to an article with tips on how to start reading (as a beginner).
My personal list is finished, but still there are many other benefits of reading. And every year researchers continue to discover new ones.
Don’t fall into the mistake of seeing it as a task but look at it for what it is, a pleasant hobby with excellent results.
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