Episode 62 | (00:00):
Did you know you could read your way to an exceptional life? Yes you, my midlife friend, I'm talking directly to you. You can actually read your way to an exceptional life so you can relax and be at peace, starting today.
And if you want, you can even do it for free. How cool is that? It's a little icing for the cake. What do you say?
So whether you think you're a strong reader, an avid reader and you're always reading, or whether you may not have a lot of good memories about reading because of school, or maybe you think you're a slow reader — whoever you are — this episode is for you.
And this is such a fantastic topic. I'm so excited that you're here today. You are going to love it. So stay with me. I'll see you on the other side. Let's do it!
Hey there, Easy Ager. If you are not already an Easy Aging® Insider, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com right after this episode and sign up today.
Okay, so today we're talking about reading. Now I know some of you adore reading and some of you have a bit of a not-so-great relationship with reading. We're going to be addressing both of those things today for those avid readers as well as the folks who just don't feel like you're strong readers.
If you don't feel like you're a strong reader, one of my goals today is to give you a new perspective on reading so you can, at a minimum, consider it. Consider adding a reading practice to your life.
Because let me tell you, you will enhance your life greatly and you'll be so happy that you did it.
If you're already an avid reader, you're definitely going to want to hear about the delicious ways you are taking very good care of your mind, body, and spirit.
And when you hear them, you can pat yourself on the back and then resolve to encourage other people to start reading more. I'm going to be talking about some of the benefits, and then I'm going to leave you with a fun-sized way to start your own reading practice if you don't already have one.
First, let's unlearn a few of those things that you learned when you were growing up. A lot of you don't like to read because you don't think you're a strong reader or you think you're a slow reader.
If that's you, more than likely you learned that in grade school. A teacher may have said something to you, the other kids may have teased you about it. You may have even been placed in that "special" group of readers and that not only stigmatized you, but it probably traumatized you as well.
This was more than likely the first step in creating a story about yourself that wasn't necessarily true. That story is not encouraging or life-affirming, and is not something that you look forward to when you think about it.
It may have created a dread inside of you when anyone mentions anything about anything even remotely related to reading. No matter where this belief came from, it's time to release it.
Because if it isn't serving you, you need to make a firm decision to let it go. And the past, well, that was then. This is now. You can't do anything about the past, but you can do something about the present, right now.
And right now you get to decide how you're going to be approaching your reading, all right? Reading for comprehension was important in school because we needed to take a test or give a report.
But here's a secret, here's the bottom line, kids: You're not in school anymore. You're a grownup now, and you get to read anything you want. Anything that interests you, any topic that intrigues you.
Reading for pleasure is one of the nicest, most beautiful things you can do for yourself in midlife. Now, just knowing that, doesn't that make reading sound a little bit lighter, a little less tedious than it did a minute ago? Doesn't that make it actually sound fun? Dare I say fun? ;)
It's all about relaxing. It's about reading at your own pace, absorbing the words however you like. And reading for pleasure isn't always about reading something light and fluffy either, some fiction or whatever.
If you're interested in a topic and you get excited about it and you really want to read about it, that would also be considered reading for pleasure. You're learning new things and you're enjoying yourself. How wonderful is that, right?
As you do this, as you continue your reading, you are giving your brain an incredible workout. So before I get into the benefits of reading, let me define what exactly I'm talking about.
To be clear, when I say reading, I am not talking about listening to an audiobook. That's not reading, that's listening, so it's not the same thing.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with audiobooks. I'm just saying you can't listen to an audiobook and consider it "reading."
When I'm talking about reading and the benefits that it will bring into your life, reading is when your eyes are moving across the page or the screen, and you're absorbing information.
It's an interactive event. You're engaging with the materials as opposed to listening, which is a pretty passive activity. You can be doing other things when you're listening, but reading does require more concentration from you.
I just wanted to make sure that we were clear on what we were talking about before I started listing all these benefits. I read an article on LifeHack.org called "10 Benefits of Reading, Why You Should Read Every Day."
Ten is a lot, so I combined a few of them. But I'm going to give you the highlights and, if you want to read the whole article, I'll leave you a link in the show notes.
Number one, reading is mental stimulation for your brain. It stimulates your mental activity. And one of the key benefits of reading books is slowing down mental disorders like dementia and Alzheimer's. Let me repeat that. One of the key benefits of reading books is slowing down mental disorders like dementia and Alzheimer's.
I mean, y'all we're in midlife. We do need to be thinking about these things. So this mental stimulation is like giving your brain a great workout. It's like exercising your brain like you exercise any other muscle in your body.
Number two, reading is a good habit for reducing stress and increasing your tranquility. How wonderful is that? That makes me want to go, "Ahhh..."
Reading helps you relax as you escape into a good book, gets your mind off your stress, whatever that is. Especially if you're reading something inspirational or spiritual like the Bible or devotional, reading will definitely put you in a better mood and lift your spirits.
Number three, when you read, you'll learn stuff. Pretty basic, right? These days, you can learn just about anything at your local library or through an order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Whether you have a hard copy or the digital book, if you enjoy reading, the world is literally your oyster. You can learn so much.
Number four, reading expands your vocabulary and improves your writing skills. That makes sense to me. You are simply going to become more adept with words the more you're around them.
Number five, reading improves memory, focus and concentration. That also makes sense because if reading slows down dementia and Alzheimer's, it only makes sense that it's going to help you with your memory.
It's going to strengthen your existing memory. It's going to help you with your short-term memory. And the more you read, the stronger all of it gets. It's just going to get stronger and stronger as you exercise that muscle.
Number six, with reading, you can strengthen your analytic thinking skills. For example, if you're reading a mystery, you'll normally start trying to figure things out, thinking, "Oh my goodness, who did it?" Or, "I wonder what's going to happen next?"
You start connecting the dots as you're doing all of this, and it's fun. I mean, I love mysteries and I love trying to put things together, put the pieces to the puzzle in the right place.
As you're doing all this, this is actually helping to strengthen your problem-solving skills.
Number seven, reading is free entertainment. Y'all, there is so much free stuff to read out there at your local library. Even if you don't want to physically go to the library, you don't have to.
Just get online, get onto your library's website, do a search for what you're looking for and put a hold on the book you want. Or if you're getting a digital book, sometimes you can even get that book downloaded to your device immediately, and you can start reading right away.
To start your own reading practice, you can start reading with a fun-sized action that doesn't scare or overwhelm you.
You can choose to read for two minutes a day, two paragraphs a day, two pages a day, or two chapters a day — whatever is easiest for you, whatever makes you feel the most comfortable and whatever sounds good.
Start there and just know that it's going to expand as you continue doing it.
So to recap, reading for pleasure is an entirely different experience than the reading you did in school. Even if you think you're not a great reader, you're a grownup now and you can change that, starting immediately.
The benefits range from slowing down dementia and Alzheimer's to reducing stress to just learning new stuff.
Your local library can be the newest source of free — Yes, F-R-E-E — Free entertainment. And who doesn't like free? Oh my goodness, I will go to great lengths for a bargain.
So that's it for today, Easy Agers. If you're not already an Easy Aging® Insider, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com right now and sign up, get on the list, be part of the group. I will see you in the next episode and until then, peace, love and blessings to you and yours. Take care. Bye-bye!