For me, reading is a cherished hobby and has always been since I can remember. Between work, family and errands, I try to find the time to enjoy a good book. Nowadays, there is a wide, ever-growing variety of genres and themes in both fiction and non-fiction to suit everyone’s needs and provide endless choices. Over the years, I have greatly expanded on my reading adventures, and the discoveries I made and the lessons I learned in the process have been fun and rewarding.
Reading is not only an enjoyable task but also a very beneficial hobby in many ways. Here are 10 reasons why:
- It is like a passport to somewhere else. Reading has the power to take you to new and different places, whether that is another part of the world, a realm of fantasy, or another dimension. When you are immersed in any particular topic or story, you can live it and learn from it, as I do, right from the comfort of your own couch with a complementary cup of hot tea or during an otherwise uneventful daily commute. It can effectively cure boredom anytime and anywhere.
- By reading often, one develops the ability to acquire, process, and apply various fields of knowledge. The more we get exposed to, the more we learn. But it is hard to experience everything first hand, so why not benefit from the thoughts and experiences of others. The written word is a great way to learn from shared knowledge, understanding, and insight. It presents new facts and realizations to us while also improving our ability to understand concepts, read between the lines, and clarify our thinking.
- Feed your creativity and imagination. As we read about more stories, facts and concepts, our minds expand to new possibilities from what we read and even beyond that. The words feed our minds, which create unique images and ideas beyond what we can fathom and understand in our own lives. It is entertaining and enjoyable certainly but can also teach us many things.
- Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Just the way our bodies need to be taken care of, so do our minds, and there is no better leisure activity to flex out or relax the mind than reading. Various psychological studies have consistently shown better brain stimulation, memory preservation, and concentration levels in individuals that engage in reading regularly.
- This hobby is a great tool against stress, anxiety, and grief. Reading can present a good story where one can get lost in a completely separate world or it brings our thoughts towards different issues. It can help to reduce negative thoughts and emotions even from a quick read. Unlike other activities, such as listening to music or watching videos, reading is more effective because it requires the mind to be engaged in processing language, understanding ideas, and portraying images.
- Read better, sound better. Reading on a regular basis exposes us to better vocabulary and sentence structure. For everyday scenarios and special circumstances, it gives us a better reservoir of words to express ourselves, and greater eloquence and clarity in speech. As I see the average person’s level of language use deteriorate, I realize that these are very important skills to build and preserve. Communication skills are a key factor for success in many personal and professional settings where we have to effectively express or prove ourselves.
- Exposure to the ideas and experiences of others induces empathy. When we read someone else’s true or fictional story, it is said that we react to the experience quite closely and we can understand new perspectives and situations. Psychological studies show that reading induces a stronger sense of empathy and ability to relate to others. This is more true for stories that have well-developed depictions of the characters, as well as their feelings and relationships, rather than stories that may primarily aim to take readers on a larger-than-life adventure.
- Read aloud sometimes. This is a great educational activity for parents/caregivers to encourage with kids. Reading aloud to them helps to learn the language, expand vocabulary faster, and pick up on new ideas. Personally, I enjoy reading out loud to myself sometimes. It is very relaxing and it clarifies my speech. I also notice sentence structure and flow in vocabulary more as I pronounce it all out.
- For writers, it is a great way to hone their talent and get new ideas. Good writers read a lot. I have reaped all the benefits I have mentioned above from my reading habit. And these skills have been very applicable to my writing. Reading gives writers more experience to draw on for making their own writing sharp: from the minute details of picking every word for the perfect, intended meaning (and using it with correct spelling and grammar) to the big picture of sharing your ideas and stories with the most effective impact for the audience. There are some great books out there on writing, and reading popular picks is a great way to figure out what your target readers appreciate.
- Lastly, all these benefits are readily and economically accessible. Reading material is available in physical copy and now electronically through schools, local libraries, and other databases. If you are looking for something specific, you can even find sources within your social network to get access to new reads. Personally, I have not invested much funds in this hobby. I can depend on friends to pass on a good book, source classic readings for free through apps online, and search the local library or educational institutions for a wide variety of sources. If you want to avidly learn about any particular topic, there is no charge to visit these sources and peruse through the material on site. I also enjoy reading fellow bloggers’ work and self-published books, including fan fiction, which people are using increasingly to exhibit the best of their own work.
Do you enjoy this hobby as much as I do? Please share why and what are your favourite works. Also, see my reading list for reviews and recommendations.