Get Lost In a Book, It’s Good For Your Health!

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January is a time of hibernation. It’s dark, it’s cold, our energy and metabolism slow, and we crave rest. It’s the perfect time of year to get a good amount of reading in!

Books are magical…they can transform your life, provide inspiration, comfort, companionship, and escape, make you laugh or cry, teach you things about yourself, the world, history, and far-off places. So why not try to include reading into your daily routine…during morning coffee, lunchtime, instead of watching t.v., or before bedtime.

Reading is good for mental health

From an article in the New Yorker “Can Reading Make You Happier?”….“Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.”

Well if that doesn’t make you want to take up reading (aside from the fact that it is free (libraries) and fascinating!) I don’t know what will!

Reading helps lower stress

Most stress-management techniques for reducing stress in the moment (acute) involve changing focus…weather it’s guided imagery, meditation, visualization, etc. Reading a book, especially enjoyable fiction, can do the same thing. Immersing yourself in a story can provide a therapeutic distraction for your mind. You get to focus on something else for a while, in a nearly meditative state, that can leave you feeling refreshed and may even improve your outlook.

Reading promotes sleep

Reading is also a healthy activity to get in the habit of before sleep. Take a break from the screen (which has been shown to negatively alter sleep patterns) and read for a bit. It’ll allow your mind to shift focus from the day’s events, rest your weary eyes from all the hours of screen-time, and may help you fall asleep more easily.

Don’t know what to read? Here’s some help…

Have you lost your enthusiasm for reading? You can get it back! There are so many types of books and writing styles out there you’re sure to find something to enjoy. Grab a hot mug of tea, a warm, cozy blanket and snuggle up with your next book…

NPR’s Book Concierge….search for 2018 reads like you would Netflix movies.

TedTalk speakers share their favorites in this list of books you won’t be able to put down.

Encyclopedia Britannica lists these classics as the greatest books ever written.

If you prefer true stories, try one of these Inspiring Autobiographies.

Downton Abby fan? Here are 12 New Books To Read If You Miss Downton Abby.

Inspiring Books For Women By Women from Elephant Journal.

Ask your librarian! Librarians love books and love to help…tell them what you like and ask for a recommendation or two!

And here are some of my favorite motivational books that I included in the January newsletter (subscribe here to get monthly emails!)…

Personal Development/Self-Help-ery Nonfiction:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

On Fire: The 7 Choices That Ignite a Radically Inspired Life by John O’Leary

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration by Simon Sinek

Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage by Jason Kander

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor

Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits by Gretchen Rubin

The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIV

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

Inspiring Stories:

Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson

North by Scott Jurek

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (The audiobook is narrated by Jeremy Irons and he is a brilliant storyteller.)

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The Lifters by Dave Eggers

What books do you love? Share your favorites in the comments!