Very often, some of us catch ourselves thinking about our younger days. When we could finish entire thickly-bound novels in days at a time! For us former bookworms, summers well full of great adventures across fantasy lands. From Harry Potter to solving great mysteries with Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. You looked forward to it every day. But as time passed, so did our capacity to read for long stretches reduce. In this age of social media, few of us have kept up our old habits of reading. Most of us have our faces buried in the screens of our social media accounts.
Curling in bed with an interesting book and a warm cup of tea is now a thing of the past. Unlike before, even the children of today are not very fond of reading. But, growing this useful habit has many plus points to its credit. Rather than watch movies based on books, we must read the books themselves. With this, we make our own portrait of the characters. We also move through their stories with our imagination!
Reading 30 minutes a day - The concept!
The average adult cannot give a lot of time, unlike children, for leisure activities. Things like reading get lost between work, family life, exercise, and social life. So, 30 minutes a day becomes enough time to grow a good habit. Also, since we have been out of touch with this habit for a long, we need to build our attention span over time. 30 minutes seems like a good time limit to do so.
The following is a good motivation for you to pick up a book right away. Like, this study was carried out on adults above 50 by the School of Public Health of Yale University. Those who read for thirty minutes a day added about two years more to their life than the average adult. But, there's a catch, your good old magazines and newspapers won't cut it! You need to dig into a good, solid novel to actually enjoy this 30-minute exercise.
Benefits of reading 30 minutes a day
1. It reduces stress and anxiety:
As per a recent study, people tend to relax within six minutes of reading a good book. It is an even better stress buster as compared to taking a walk in the park or listening to music. Some find it a good way to organize their jumbled thoughts. Other forms of entertainment like watching TV make our brains passive and suppressed. It also reduces sadness and helps you relax.
2. It makes you more kind:
Fiction lovers tend to have more empathy than Non-fiction lovers. So, this solves the debate between what is better? Fiction or Non-fiction? Haha. Jokes aside, if you want to better understand what others feel, read fiction. You can even relate to them better.
● Reading for a short time every day changes your outlook on many different situations.
● It helps you put yourself in others' shoes and look at the world through their eyes. This ends up benefitting you in real-life situations.
● But, there was no such evidence found in the case of non-fiction readers.
3. It improves brainpower:
Most times, we become absorbed in an interesting story. At such times, we can see improved brain function as the connectivity in the brain improves. Our neurons get fired, and we can make better connections and process information.
● With reading, we actually begin forming links and putting all the knowledge in our brains to use.
● Reading fiction makes our brain's language-processing parts strong. It also improves the parts controlling our movements and physical sensation.
● E.g. Think of reading about a person dancing. You can actually feel and imagine yourself dancing like them.
4. Falling asleep is easy:
Most of us these days have a habit of sleeping while scrolling through our phones. The blue light emitted from these screens worsens sleep cycles over time. This causes insomnia. Read a book before sleeping. It induces better sleep. Also, people have claimed to have woken up feeling much fresher and well-rested after that.
● Reading before bed ups the production of melatonin which is a sleep-inducing hormone. Our screen's blue light does the opposite!
● It's also advisable to read something light and relaxing than heavy novels.
● The aim is to relax and put you in a good enough mood to sleep.
5. You have a richer social network:
The talk over a 2-hour movie or 8-episode series can go on for many hours. Imagine the amount of discussion to be had on a 300-page book. Books can be a very rich and varied topic of discussion.
They encourage different opinions from everyone. It also gives us a healthy banter made up of a wide range of perspectives. You end up meeting people from different walks of life and knowing their views.
6. It reduces brain decline:
Reading stops your brain from going senile at an earlier age as you grow older. This is a flip-side of increasing intelligence. We can also use it as a mental exercise.
● Those who read for thirty minutes a day bring down their chances of getting Alzheimer's disease by 2.5 times.
● The brain is a network of interconnected neurons resembling highways. The cars on these highways are the thoughts that flow between them.
● Regular reading works like the upkeep of these highways to prevent them from a breakdown.
7. More career prospects:
These days you can learn many new skills by watching videos on Youtube. But, nothing beats gaining knowledge from a book. Your attention span increases, and you are able to grasp and remember things better. Watching videos, while quicker, is still time-consuming as you have to watch a single video many times to learn a topic. Whereas, when you read a book once or twice, you almost become an expert in it.
8. Better vocabulary:
English is the international language for business. And so, our grasp over these languages could determine our success in the world. When we read, the author's vast vocabulary gets added to our own, and we get to learn new words. We can use these new words in our everyday lives and improve our language skills.
● This leads to better exposure to jobs, and our worldview also expands. It also opens up a vast sea of opportunities for us.
● A good vocabulary is also a sign of a very well-read person who is intelligent and respected.
Reading speed test:
While starting out, people have reading speeds of 200 words per minute (wpm). This is the normal speed for a person. It includes a typical comprehension of 60% of the text read. A good reader can clock speeds of up to 1000 wpm. This is with an eighty-five percent comprehension speed. Only one percent of readers can reach that speed, though.
A normal reader might not improve his reading and comprehension speed skills. Even if this means everyday practice. But, there are three methods which he/she can apply to do so.
A) Speed reading seminar:
These seminars have an excellent instructor and good material. A slow reader can even double or triple his speed after a two-day class. Selected texts and comprehension in a positive and encouraging environment can do wonders. This is pretty good to increase the reading speed fast.
B) A book about speed-reading:
Such books have good techniques to improve reading. It has extra skimming techniques as well as good comprehension and speed tests as well. They may also include video or audio cassettes. But, this method requires great commitment from the reader till the end.
C) Speed-reading computer programs:
These programs offer text animation and interactivity. By offering such exercises, we can boost reading efficiency. These computer speed reading skills are transferable to paper reading. This speed-reading software also breaks life-long slow reading habits. This is due to the fast-paced and enjoyable training given by the software.
Although it may seem tedious at first, reading 30 minutes a day has many benefits, as outlined above. As any new habit takes time to form, so will this. We need to be patient and keep at it every day. Reading will help broaden our perspectives and horizons about this world. You can go into different worlds depending on the books you read. They can be philosophy, fiction, or even non-fiction! After a long day of work and stress, sometimes all you need is a good curl in for the night. Add in an easy, relaxing, and interesting book with a hot cup of coffee and your favorite snacks! Voila, you have a perfect end to the day.
On the same note, encourage the older relatives and grandparents in your family to read. It builds neuron highways and keeps their mind active. This prevents diseases like dementia as they age. All in all, reading has very good benefits for a person's mind and health. It opens your mind and soothes your soul. Some people are so crazy about reading that they even do it while walking!