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Rediscovering Reading

Rediscovering Reading

Rediscovering Reading

Most of us are in touch with the outside world, but very few are in touch with their internal world. Reading helps you to tap into that internal world, that void and emptiness which cannot be described in words. We feel unsatisfied and low when our life lacks purpose and direction, reading can inspire you and help you understand yourself better. The characters in a book, whether fiction or non-fiction, give us insights into our own character. The characters you relate to and the characters you hate make you understand what your own likes and dislikes are. Throughout our life, we come across various challenges, during these times we turn to our family and friends for support and advice. Friends and family can provide monetary and moral support but the advice they give can often be limited and based on their own past experiences. Apart from turning to your close circle, you could find the answers to your numerous questions and ways to face challenges in books. Books tell us stories and narratives which are different from the ones we would otherwise hear from our friends and family.

Decisions should be made after taking multiple perspectives into consideration. Life is an extremely long journey, the more knowledge you acquire the more confident you feel about your opinions and judgements. Every time you sit down to read, you will realize how little you know and how much more there is to learn and understand. Reading humbles you as a person, and you realise that the knowledge you possess is never adequate.

Conversations and discussions are more rich and fulfilling between readers. This comes as no surprise, as readers are the ones with an open mind and have a number of words to express themselves. People who do not read have topics which are limited to everyday life and incidents. Whereas, readers have a variety of topics and always have something new to bring to the table.

Studying for exams from textbooks and going through office papers in the work environment should not be the only reading you do, reading has to be extended to fiction and non-fiction books. Shining at school and work but failing miserably at a personal level is not the right way to go about life. People constantly complain about work and study stress without realising that the solution lies right in front of them – a book. Reading is the ultimate stress buster and the benefits are numerous to the reader.

No need to hire a therapist, reading is the oldest form of self-therapy. Serotonin levels rise when we engage in deep reading, as reading requires concentration, understanding and visualising. It is an extremely calming activity who’s benefits are similar to those derived from meditation. Whenever you are feeling down, you will instantly feel better after reading. It enhances your questioning power, the entire activity calms you down, makes you stop and think. It makes you ask questions.

We live in a world where people are constantly exposed to external stimuli (social media, television) . You need something that caters to your internal stimuli (thoughts, emotions, feelings). You do not necessarily have to purchase and read bestsellers, you can pick up books which are interesting and appealing to you. What needs to be remembered is that reading is an exercise you do by and for yourself. Reading any genre and subject that interests you and keeps you engaged is important.

Reading is a solution to many problems that people face in the 21 st century such as depression and anxiety. Expensive therapists should not be the go to solution for a problem that can be solved by picking up the habit of reading.

During the COVID years we came to realise that travel restrictions had confined us to our homes, people who were frequent travellers and globetrotters had to be at home which was extremely difficult and their only solace was reading. Many people who had lost the habit of reading picked it up again. What they have understood is that books are a convenient way to travel the world mentally, not every individual can afford to travel whenever and however they want due to work commitments and insufficient funds. Reading gives your mind the opportunity to learn about various communities, cultures, clothing and food located in any part of the world.

Sometimes we feel and think so much but we cannot find the words to express ourselves. Habitual readers are seldom faced with this dilemma, they have a number of words in mind to express themselves. Physical and mental exercise go hand in hand. Hitting the gym thrice a week and spending an hour reading should both be a part of our schedules.

Recently I read the book – ‘Dreams from my Father’ by Barack Obama and I had some takeaways from the book which are completely personal and left an impression on me. First of all, I understood that not everyone has a perfect life and clean slate, what matters is how you respond to the curveballs which life throws at you. In the book, Obama narrates how difficult and confusing his childhood and family life was, this makes you admire and appreciate his achievements more. It makes you think how an individual with all that confusion, absence of a father and years of being in the dark about his own roots and bloodline still manages to go ahead and achieve so much. Just reading about it can make you feel sad, imagine living through it. Once I finished reading the book I understood that the former President is called great for a reason. Obama always has a winning smile and is a relentless optimist. I started the book with a vague idea about the former President Obama, but I finished reading the book with an entire different mindset about him and life as a whole.

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