Less than half of all adults in the United States read books, and this figure has declined steadily over the past twenty years. There are many possible reasons for this downward trend. The rise of smartphone technology has sapped our concentration levels, making it far more appealing to spend our evenings scrolling through social media than settling into a good book.
We also live far more busy lives than in times past. Many people don’t have the time to invest in a lengthy novel, finding it much easier to squeeze an episode of a television series into their limited leisure time.
But the decline of reading for enjoyment is a real shame, as it is one of the greatest pleasures life has to offer. Many people wish they had more time to read, but never seem to get around to taking up the hobby. If you lead a busy lifestyle and find it hard to compel yourself to start reading, you might just need the right motivation.
There are so many fantastic reasons to make reading a big part of your life, and it’s more than just a source of entertainment. Books can change your life for the better in many ways, and the five most significant benefits are outlined below.
There are all kinds of books out there, from rip-roaring adventure yarns to feel-good romance to classic novels. But there is more to reading than just fiction. If stories are not your thing, there are countless non-fiction works dedicated to any practical subject you can think of.
Whatever you are interested in, books can help you expand your skill set, gain knowledge, and broaden your horizons. There are books on film, sports, carpentry, biology, and cookery. You can teach yourself how to fix a leaky tap or apply for a DBS mortgage loan. Or you can learn how to build your own furniture or bake a delicious cake.
Whatever subjects you are passionate about, reading builds your character and turns you into a more talented, well-rounded person.
Most of us are guilty of spending too much time on our phones, and studies show that this has had hugely negative impacts on our concentration levels. Many people find it hard to focus on tasks that require the utmost attention, like writing and reading. When you’re watching a TV show, you can zone in and out of it if it doesn’t grab you or talk to the person next to you about what’s happening on screen.
But reading, on the other hand, requires 100% concentration. You have to read every single word in order and take in the meaning of each sentence. It rewards your concentration and patience and forces you to focus on only one thing at a time.
When you first pick up a book and try to get back into reading, you might struggle as a result. You will find it difficult to get lost in the story and you’ll have to resist the temptation to pick up your phone. But over time, your ability to concentrate will dramatically improve and you’ll become much more attentive and observant. This increased focus will help you not only in your ability to read but all other areas of your life too.
Many people in the modern world use screens for all aspects of their lives. They spend hours each day watching TV, playing video games, working at a computer, and even exercising to workout videos on YouTube. Technology is omnipresent in our lives, but we also need time away from it. Staring at a screen for long periods can damage your eyesight, and sitting hunched over a computer is terrible for your posture and joints.
Books have been around for millennia, well before the advent of electricity, so picking up a good novel can take you back to a time when no one had ever dreamed of a smartphone. Your new, wholesome, analog hobby will give you a break from the screen and help you to break your technology addiction.
Whatever you do for a job, you probably need to use writing at some point in your day-to-day life. Whether it’s sending emails, writing job applications, compiling reports, or planning projects. The more adept you are at writing, the easier it will be for you to articulate your meaning and get your point across fluently.
This will enable you to become a better communicator, which is one of the most valuable skills anyone can have in a professional setting. Once your writing ability improves, you will be more likely to succeed in your job and achieve your career aspirations.
Reading regularly is the best way to become a better writer, as you will be constantly learning new vocabulary and exposing yourself to the rules of grammar and sentence construction. Even if you don’t intend to learn these skills, they will rub off onto your subconscious anyway.
Are you constantly stressed at work? Do you have to meet tight deadlines in a high-pressure environment? When you get home each night, do you collapse on the sofa in a state of mental and physical exhaustion? 77% of people experience high levels of stress, and if you are one of them, you need an outlet to release it.
Activities involving phones and screens keep your brain wired and make it hard to relax, but reading has a calming effect. Studies show that reading for just six minutes can reduce your stress levels by 68%.
Find a book that you’re interested in and take it with you everywhere you go. Pick it up on the train to work, in your lunch break, and before you go to bed at night. Getting lost in another world will make you feel tranquil and forget the stresses of work and family.
In conclusion, there are many excellent reasons to take up reading as a hobby. Not only is it a fantastic source of entertainment, but it will also equip you with skills and characteristics that are essential in the modern world.