Last week I had to write and perform a persuasive speech in my speech class, and choose my own topic. Guess what I chose?
R E A D I N G.
I thought I would share it with you, so here it is.
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Many could admit that they have not picked up a book in weeks or maybe even months. It could be even longer than that, but I won’t go there. You could be feeding the nagging guilt that you feel every time you see that dusty, unread book sitting on the bookshelf with the excuse: “I don’t have time”. That excuse could be valid. Or you could be thinking, “I have to stick to my priorities”. Do you browse the web, play with social media, or watch TV at at least one point in your day? Do you read from a book every day? Exactly. You may think that reading is not important, but once you hear the benefits that reading has to offer you, you may be willing to bump reading up on your list of daily activities.
People read books in the first place for many different reasons. In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, they reported that “26% of those who had read a book in the past 12 months said that what they enjoyed most was learning, gaining knowledge, and discovering information.”. Books are often used for educational purposes, whether for school, work, or personal research. Fifteen percent talked about how they enjoy the pleasure of escaping reality, becoming immersed in another world, and using their imaginations. There was a lot of variation of why people choose to read, some find entertainment from the suspense and drama in a good novel, and others just like relaxing in a quiet place with something to read. A few claimed that they only read because of the aesthetic look that books have and the smell of the pages. Phrases like “a stress-free escape”, “a nice way to relax”, “diverting, entertaining and educational” and “it draws me away from reality” were consistent. The reasons for reading can be completely different, but everyone can experience the benefits of choosing to read.
Reading has quite a few effects that improve our mental health. While reading, you can trick your brain into thinking you have experienced things that you have only read about. Picking up a book and spending your time working through it is much better than staring at a screen. While reading, our brains create worlds in our own minds. It has been showed that visual imagery is automatic. When we read a sentence, a photo comes up in our minds without us even trying to think about it.
After reading a book, you probably feel strongly connected to its characters, and feel like you were actually there experiencing what happened in the book. This is because your brain believes that you have experienced it. Your brain does not make the distinction between reading about an experience or living it. Reading is like a virtual reality experience for your brain.
Story structure prompts our brains to think in sequence. Stories have a beginning, middle, and end, which helps our brains to link cause and effect. The more you read, the better your mind will adapt to this way of thinking. This is why parents are suggested to read to their children at a young age. Children’s young minds will be stretched to have a longer attention span.
Did you know that after reading consistently for a certain amount of time, your brain structure changes? In a good way, of course. Scientists discovered during a six-month daily reading plan that the amount of white matter in the language area of the brain increased. This proves that your brain structure can be improved by reading, which makes it even more important.
You may think it is just fun to lose yourself while reading a book and ignoring everything going on around you. But this actually does affect us. When we forget about the emotional chaos in the real world, we sink into the story and feel what the characters are feeling. This helps us learn to see in a different perspective than our own, and makes us more empathetic in the real world. When we are forced to return to reality, we are more aware of what others could be going through and feeling.
Aside from the scientific effects of reading, it also relieves us of general things, like stress. Reading can relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles. Reading is an even better relaxation remedy than other methods, such as listening to music or drinking hot tea. Pick something to read that you enjoy. Make sure its not something that will upset you, or it will bring all that stress and worry back. Reading is all about your enjoyment or contentment in the book.
Not only is reading fun and healthy for our mind, but it also makes us smarter. Books of all genres increase language comprehension, vocabulary, and brain activity. When you are looking to be employed, managers are looking for people who are good at interacting with people and seem friendly. Reading helps you have higher emotional intelligence, which will come in handy to help your social skills in life.
In conclusion, reading is an excellent hobby that brings entertainment, enjoyment, relaxation, knowledge, and results in a better mental health and higher intelligence. Reading should be a daily commitment, with the same amount of importance as physical activity. Reading is a workout for your brain, keeps your imagination alive and makes you overall smarter and healthier. Next time you are about to pick up your phone or TV remote, think about it. Is what you are about to do beneficial to your mental health? If not, go grab that unread book from the bookshelf and read!
What do you think? Did you feel guilty about the huge stack of books in your TBR pile? Mwahahaha, I hope so. 😉
Have a nice week! AND ALMOST MERRY CHRISTMAS!
What books are on your TBR?