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Why You Should Start Reading

Photo by Blaz Photo on Unsplash

Imagine an afternoon where the sky is dark and cloudy. Rain is splattering against the window and you are curled up under a blanket in your favorite spot on the couch. What would you be doing in this situation? I would be reading. It’s not everyone’s choice, but a relief from the stress of everyday life can be found through reading a good book. The experience of reading can be vastly different depending on how it is done.

Reading is a fun pastime with many benefits. A study revealed that reading for 30 minutes can lower blood pressure and heart rate and provide stress release. While many activities such as exercise can do the same, each person is different, and for some, that isn’t the best solution. For some people, exercise is not relaxing or enjoyable, which can result in a lack of motivation to do it. If you have a book you want to read, your time is well spent, and you have a reason to read. Likewise, it has been demonstrated that reading can help assuage feelings of depression. Since depression often makes one feel isolated, books can sometimes decrease that feeling- especially fiction or sci-fi novels. 

Furthermore, books are something that connects people globally; the Harry Potter series sold approximately 500 million copies worldwide. Additionally, The Fellowship of the Ring sold approximately 150 million copies globally. Popular series can connect people in their love for characters, authors, and different genres. There are “fandoms” for many popular books/book series, where fans discuss the plot, make art or drawings of the characters, and talk about what could happen in sequels.

Even for people who enjoy reading, when you are forced to read a book it can be terrible. Having to read or annotate in a certain amount of time can be stressful, and it can affect your opinion of the book. However, reading on your own time is more fun. Picking a book that interests you and reading it on your own terms gives you more freedom. It lets you enjoy the book and not be stressed about deadlines and grades. In 2016, 73% of adult Americans read at least one book. Nevertheless, even if you don’t enjoy reading, it is a vital skill and is used in many jobs. Hence, reading for fun can improve your reading skills, possibly making you better at your job. 

While reading might not be fun for you currently, it could be. If you haven’t tried finding a book that you like, then that is likely why you don’t like reading. Find a genre, author, or series that you cherish. Read on your own time when you want to, and with that combination, reading will likely become something you do to relax and destress. Books can bring you to your happy place.

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