Reading books changes your life by lowering stress, opening up new worlds and connecting you to authors throughout history and other readers.
Direct your mind and guide your thinking
Our minds are incredible things, and cycle through millions of thoughts in the course of a day.
Undirected thinking can easily slip into negative thinking and depressed thoughts.
The beauty of reading is that you can make a conscious effort to choose what you will think about. You can choose books that will fill your mind with inspiring, uplifting thoughts. When you’re not reading, you can still think about what you’re currently reading.
Open up new worlds of knowledge and experience
Books are great for introducing you to new ideas, to whole fields of study and experience.
You can get to know the leaders and pioneers in the field. And get to know conflicting philosophies of thought in the field. You can sit at the feet of masters and decide for yourself if they’ve earned the right to be gurus. You can expand the base of your knowledge by absorbing theirs.
Provide you with an education
It’s a great way to satisfy your curiosity by researching something you don’t know, but would like to or learn more about something you already love.
Sometimes you have a problem in your life, and you don’t even know what it is. All you know is the pain that you’re feeling and some symptoms. Sometimes reading can help you figure out a diagnosis.
After you discover a diagnosis, there’s often lots of books to help you solve your problem.
It’s a great way to increase your understanding of yourself, humanity, God, the world.
Additionally, reading is a great way to increase your vocabulary
Connect to authors across miles, continents and centuries
Though the miracle of reading books, you can connect with the greatest minds in history.
It’s impossible to have a cup of coffee with every person you might want to meet, either for reasons of geography or simple time limitations. Yet, you can still pick their brain by reading their books. You can learn, agree or disagree and stand on their shoulders.
When you write, you can continue the conversation.
Connect with family or friends in a shared reading experience
There’s nothing like the experience of reading aloud with a class or family. You now all know the inside jokes, the shared memory of a great story plus the memory of experiencing it together.
Sarah Mackenzie of the Read Aloud Revival says that reading as a family is all about “making meaningful and lasting connections with your kids through books.”
A book club shares the same characteristics of a group of people discussing thoughts and ideas about a book that they’ve all read recently.
Lower your stress
It’s a great way to escape the stress of your life
Amazingly, the physical act of reading can slow your heart rate and relax muscle tension in as little as 6 minutes. In addition, there are 5 other ways reading can lower stress.
Take you on a mini-vacation
What’s going to happen next? Who dunnit? How is the hero going to get out of this jam?
From the comfort of your recliner you can have the greatest adventures through the medium of a book.
There’s nothing quite like the contentment of a satisfying ending. Read for the pure pleasure of it.
Give expression to your emotions
For some reason, humans have a hard time knowing what they’re feeling and expressing it appropriately.
When you become involved in a story, you identify with the players and you become emotionally invested. You can vicariously feel and express emotions with them. You might not realize you need “a good cry” or that the satisfying ending was just the emotional uplift that you needed.
Provide inspiration for your life
You can hijack someone else’s courage, even a fictional character.
Reading The Hobbit, you can identify with Bilbo Baggins and tag along on his journey with him and borrow his courage.
Reading a biography or memoir can inspire you to live better.
Ben Carson and his brother grew up with a single mother who worked hard to provide for them. She required her sons to read books and report back to her on their reading, in spite of the fact that she was illiterate. They went on to world class educations and become leaders in their fields.
Give you a vision of how your life could be different
Other people are farther ahead on the trail of where you want to go.
They know the pitfalls and the obstacles. Plus they know the shortcuts and the hard won secrets. So, they can give you a blueprint for making specific changes.
I made a list of some of the pivotal books that were game changers for me.
Provide you with a new hobby
Everyone needs meaningful work. Everyone needs relationship and connection.
A much less understood need is the need for play and recreation. Reading helps you learn everything you need to dive into a new hobby.