When we talk about investing, more often than not we associate it with words like ‘money’ and ‘property’ and ‘portfolio’. In my humble opinion, it’s unfortunate that we don’t also associate it with things like ‘knowledge’ and ‘health’ and ‘education’.
I certainly don’t exercise as much as I should, but there’s something else that the majority of us don’t do that’s also important: read!
Reading is like mental aerobics in that it stimulates the mind. In fact, there’s several benefits to reading, even if it’s just a little bit each day.
In 2009, the brains over at the University of Sussex concluded that reading is the most effective way to relieve stress, trumping even the classic methods of stress relief such as walking, listening to music or pouring yourself a nice warm cuppa.
Aside from being effective, it’s also efficient, taking as little as 6 minutes to take effect. So next time you feel a little stressed out, curl up with anything from the newspaper to your favourite weighty tome and get lost in some literature!
Fortify Your Faculties
Reading can give your brain some brawn. A study published in the journal of Neurology suggests that by participating in mentally stimulating activities like reading, you can actually slow the rate of memory decline, as compared to those who don’t actively stimulate their mind.
As if that weren’t exciting enough, the hits keep on coming, because the study also states that these positive effects were still found amongst those who didn’t proactively exercise their minds until later on in life too. So it’s never too late to get your mental pump on!
Proliferate Your Lexicon
This is a benefit I can personally vouch for. Reading frequently, mixed with a dash of curiosity, can actually help you to talk more good! Believe it or not, once upon a time my England wasn’t well, but thanks to frequent reading across a broad spectrum of genres and topics, I was constantly coming across foreign words that I was determined to learn and use.
Now I can boast a much improved vernacular, which in turn makes more complex material more accessible. But if you want to know the real dirty secret, it’s this: words are cool!
When I think of the most influential speakers, writers and singers I know, I realise that they’re all masters of the King’s English. Communicating has the potential to be an exciting opportunity to uniquely express yourself; I say seize that opportunity. Capere verba!
Some of the worst things you can do prior to going to bed is watch TV, stare at your computer screen or hypnotically gaze at your phone. Such activities are rife with flashing lights, moving images and gaudy graphics that actually over stimulate the brain leaving you wide-eyed and sleep deprived.
Fortunately, the antidote is a pre-sleep routine that includes a bit of reading time. Reading before bed helps to calm the mind so that when you do turn out the light, you’ll be spitting Z’s in no time. I, for one, am a sucker for 40 winks, so to find out that the best way to improve something I love is to do two things I love is a dream come true.
Above all, reading is fun to do. By reading classic novels and the daily news, countless Simpsons references suddenly made sense.
By reading about the life and works of various authors, I was exposed to literary rock stars like Hunter S Thompson, William S Burroughs and Charles Bukowski. The beauty of books is that there is something out there for everyone. So get to a bookstore, find yourself a page turner and start reading yourself healthy!