There's been a steady increase of people in my life that get surprised when I tell them that I love to read, it's always "how do you have the time?", "I can't read a book without falling asleep", or "I haven't read since high school." Reading doesn't have to be everyone's favorite hobby but it can still be enjoyable. There is a certain type of book out there for every person, it's just about finding the right genre. The thing is, reading is a hobby I think more people should start picking up, despite the lack of time everyone says they don't have.
We live in a very "go-go" environment that we forget to take time to do the things we love doing because it would mean spending our time not working, or not studying, or not relaxing. This not only applies to reading but to every hobby we all have given up on because of our lack of time management. So, on top of the many hobbies, you say you're too busy for I think it's time to put reading on that list as well. I do agree that it's very difficult to keep up with reading when there's so much going on. There are times when I can't read a book because I still haven't finished the chapter from my textbook.
I agree it's difficult, but it's not impossible. There are hobbies that we all enjoy doing, that we pick up because of all of the benefits. What if reading was just as beneficial? If we lose the time to appreciate writer's stories I think we would lose the love of words by letting go of reading.
Recently there's been an influx of poetry slams and used book stores that have made these ideas of reading in a coffee shop almost like a hipster dream, but there's more to reading than just that. With multiple genres across the world, there's no right or wrong way to read, everyone has their genre that they enjoy and gives them more to connect with. According to a study conducted in 2016 by cognitive psychology professor Keith Oatley, literary fiction actually stimulates the brain more and increases our ability to empathize with others. Oatley says that it makes us feel more emotionally connected because we relate to characters like they're actual people. Yet, the majority of Americans who read books have been unchanged from 2012-2016 according to Pew Research Center. Meaning, we have not seen an increase in the amount of reading in a while.
To change that, and encourage people to read more, we need to provide them with incentives. That's why people go to the gym, or study, because they have an outcome they want and a reason why it's important. Reading is just as important as exercising because it gives us an opportunity to learn more and increase our knowledge. In a study done by psychologist Maja Djikic, it shows that reading fiction actually makes you more accepting of ambiguity. Djikic says that ambiguity contributes to having more creative ideas and innovative ways to solve problems.
If for some reason you're still not convinced that reading is that important then hopefully you'll pick it up because of the health benefits it has. Based on a study done by the American Academy of Neurology, reading has proven to increase our ability to ward off mental illnesses such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Regular readers prove to sleep better, stress less, have higher self-esteem, and have a lower rate of depression.
We've become so used to doing things to "treat ourselves" so why don't we encourage that behavior in things that are good for us as well. This is the determination you're looking for to stop by your local Barnes & Noble or library and pick up a book that interests you. We have a lot of knowledge to retain and there's so much more we could explore in a fictional world that's created of words and our imagination. We've lost a sense of our childhood fantasies, in a world where making money comes first and working hard is the way to make it, we've let go of our uninhibited indulgences. I think it's time we keep that part of ourselves alive.
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