Every bookworm will at some point in their life experience feelings of guilt about reading. Heck, some of us experience the feeling on a regular basis! There’s just so much stuff that we should be doing instead of reading (like laundry, buying food, cooking, cleaning and spending time with family and friends), but we still steal a bit of reading time for ourselves – and then we feel terrible about it.
But instead of beating ourselves up about it, we should embrace the all-consuming need to read because it actually helps us in many ways. Below I’ve listed 5 reasons why you should ditch the guilt about reading and instead set some time aside to immerse yourself in a good book!
1. Reading reduces stress
To reduce the stress of our busy lives, some people do yoga, others go for a run or watch TV. Bookworms, on the other hand, read. What many people don’t seem to realise is that reading is meditation for bookworms, and it’s pretty effective. Once you open a good book and escape into its magical world, your troubles seem to fade away, your blood pressure goes down and you begin to relax – at least until you close the book and is faced with real life (and a tonne of laundry) once again!
That little break from reality is an important part of recharging your mental batteries which will help you tackle all the stuff you need to do. Without it, you will probably end up becoming restless, stressed out or grumpy – or a combination of all three! So push the guilt away and take good care of yourself by setting a bit of time aside for some reading.
2. Reading improves your mental stimulation
Your body may be taking a break from the stress of modern day life whilst you read, but your brain is getting a healthy dose of mental stimulation. Studies have actually shown that you can slow the progress of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia if you keep your brain mentally stimulated. So the next time you feel guilty about reading, just remember that you are in fact keeping Alzheimer’s and Dementia at bay!
3. Reading makes you smarter
Yup, no surprise there. Dr Seuss said it quite well when he said: ”The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Everything you read will provide you with knowledge – whether it’s how to optimise fuel cells or what weapon to use against a ghoul. It all (usually) comes in handy at some point, so kill the guilt and see reading as a way to prepare yourself for life’s future challenges.
It’s also worth remembering that no one can ever take knowledge away from you – it’s yours to keep for the rest of your life. How many other things can you say that about?
4. Reading provides you with better writing skills and a killer vocabulary
Besides providing you with all kinds of awesome knowledge, reading also gives you a killer vocabulary and some pretty impressive writing skills (even if you aren’t an aspiring author).
Being articulate and capable of putting words together on paper will benefit you in your everyday life as both skills are useful in pretty much any job and in most situations. They never go out of style either!
5. Reading has the power to make you more empathetic
According to some studies, you’re more likely to understand other people’s emotions in real life if you read a lot of literary fiction. This may sound strange to everyone who sees bookworms as a reclusive species, removed from the social interactions which extroverts find so enjoyable. However, the explanation for bookworms’ big empathetic potential is that literary fiction gives you an insight into the mental state and emotions of different characters. By immersing yourself in these many and very different fictive lives, you can, therefore, enhance your ability to relate to others.
Empathy – another useful ability which justifies reading!
If I have forgotten any other reasons why we shouldn’t feel guilty about treating ourselves to a bit of reading time once in a while, do let me know!