Reading is one of the most amazing ways to destress, have fun and escape reality for a bit, without any pressure.
And, now that hobbies are increasingly being turned into ways to make money, it’s a hobby with little expectation.
So, how exactly does reading make you a happier person?
Reading reduces stress
Many studies have shown that reading acts in a similar way to meditation in that it encourages a state of deep relaxation.
Reading also improves sleep quality and reduces levels of stress, especially if you use that extra screen time for some reading instead.
Reading is also a great way to take a break from working, and a good alternative to scrolling through social media or spending hours catching up on emails.
“A book is a dream you hold in your hand”– Neil Gaiman.
Books are one of the few ways to completely escape our reality, and enter an entirely new one, without physically travelling anywhere.
Books require us to actively engage and participate in the narrative (which is why it is so difficult to read with distractions). It’s a lot more difficult to focus on other stresses or worries when you’re completely submerged in a story.
There has long been an assumption that reading is boring, or something you have to force yourself to do. But once you’ve found a story that grips you, reading becomes exhilarating.
Reading gives you new perspective
Books are a truly unique way to spread ideas and allow us to view the world from a wide range of perspectives. They open up our minds to different experiences, cultures and ways of living that we would have little knowledge of otherwise.
In this way, reading allows us to empathise with those we may otherwise have very little understanding of.
The characters and narratives that we come into contact with have a genuine impact on the way we experience our own lives and interact with others.
A hobby with no expectations
Nowadays, there has come to be expectation attached to a lot of hobbies to make money out of them, or at least be able to do them well.
Once you have learnt to read, it is not something you can do well or badly (reading slowly does not mean you’re a bad reader!).
There also don’t have to be any expectations (from others or yourself) on how often you read or which genres. Simply focus on reading what you enjoy, as often as you like.
A sense of community
Although reading is often a solitary activity, there are lots of opportunities to connect with other readers. This could be through physical or online book clubs, social media like Bookstagram or Booktube or just chatting to friends/family about what you’ve been reading recently.
Having a hobby that you can share with others in some way is incredibly important; humans strive for connection, and at the moment, that is more important than ever. This is also vital for our mental health.
Do you enjoy reading? Do you find it helps you to relax and have fun? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or you can connect with me directly through Instagram.