In middle school, I remember staying up all night just to finish the book I was currently engulfed in. I would finish huge books in a matter of days because I spent any free second I had trying to read more. I don’t know exactly when I stopped reading for enjoyment, but as I started to get busier and busier, I forgot about how much fun reading could be.
Now that I’m in my junior year of college as a physics student, most of the reading I do is from science textbooks. Recently, though, I was feeling extremely burnt out from exams and decided I would try to get into reading for enjoyment again.
After making this decision, I finished three books in three days, and it immediately rekindled my love of reading. I realized how much better I felt mentally just by escaping into a book. After having this experience, I wanted to share some of the mental benefits of reading more often.
1. Reading Gives You Something To Look Forward To Everyday
When midterm season hit, I started experiencing major burnout. I felt so unmotivated because all my days consisted of studying and homework and exams. It was an exhausting cycle, and I felt like I wasn’t able to do anything fun.
I started reading during moments when I would normally be scrolling on my phone, like when I was on the bus and before bed at night. This way, I wasn’t taking time away from my studying, and I could do something fun during my breaks. It felt so good to know I had something to look forward to each day, even if it was just continuing my book. Before my exams, I would motivate myself by thinking about relaxing and reading after it was over.
2. Reading Helps You Sleep
Reading before bed is a lot healthier than staring at a screen and looking at social media before sleeping. Health professionals often recommend reducing screen time before bed, so reading a physical book is a great alternative to watching YouTube or TikTok.
I know for me, falling asleep can be difficult, especially when I’m feeling anxious about school. Reading helps me take my mind off of all the things I’m stressed about. It is a way for me to unwind and relax before bed to ensure a good night’s sleep, which is important for physical and mental health.
3. Reading Improves Your Vocabulary
Having a strong vocabulary is often associated with being intelligent, and the best way to increase your vocabulary is through reading. Every time I read a book, I look up some words on Google because I am unsure of their meaning. As someone who enjoys writing articles and songs, I love learning new words to improve my writing. Whether writing is a big part of your life or not, improving your vocabulary is great for job interviews and conversational skills in general.
4. Reading Gives You a Break From Real Life
It can be easy to get caught up in the stress of everyday life, and reading is a great way to take a mental break from all of that. Of course, trying to escape reality all the time isn’t healthy, but giving yourself some time to take your focus off of school or work-related anxiety can be good for your mental well-being. Many studies have shown links between stress reduction and reading for pleasure, even if you can only read for a short period of time each day.
If you’re like me and loved reading before, this is your sign to start reading again! Not only is it super entertaining, but it is also a great way to improve your health.