Let me ask you something when was the last time you read something just for pleasure? I am not talking about blogs, emails, and social media posts but an actual book. Why? Reading can help you to be more creative. It’s not about the kind of reading we do every day, just consuming as much information as possible in the shortest amount of time, it’s about taking the time to sit down and enjoy a good book without distractions from the world around you. Read on to find out more about the benefits of reading.
It’s hard to find the time to read a book nowadays. Even though I really enjoy reading and I’ve always been an avid reader, I am struggling myself to find the time. Often it’s just 10 minutes on the train or a couple of minutes before bed. But when I don’t read regularly I find myself less inspired and less creative in my work. Why is that so?
Not only self-help guides and business books which clearly have educational value but also reading fiction does improve your skills. When we read we always learn something new. We are exposed to different opinions and explore different cultures without ever moving from our seat. Take a look at some of my favorite books.
Aside from improving our cognitive function, reading helps us to memorize. While reading a novel you need to remember names, places, and the storyline if you want to understand the book. If you really enjoyed a book you can still remember those things years later.
It’s also evident that reading improves your vocabulary. While reading we stumble upon new words or words we don’t use often and add them to our repertoire. This makes us better communicators and of course better writers.
Reading helps you to focus
You might say that reading is a very isolating and lonely hobby but sometimes we need to take a break from our high-speed lives. Books can give you this escape. They help you to disconnect and put your mind to something else. The whole process of reading is actually a process of focus. Hello mono-tasking! When you’re fully immersed into a good book you shut off all other tasks and outside noises. If you ever missed your train stop because you were reading, you know what I am talking about.
Training our brain to focus and learning to monotask will be great for your workflow. As creatives, we often find it hard to focus on one thing because we have so many ideas and we want to do all at the same time.
Reading reduces stress
There’s a good reason why reading is used in therapy. Bibliotherapy uses books to treat mental problems and to help people overcome difficult situations in their lives. Reading gives you the possibility to disconnect from your daily struggle and to decompress after a long day. That’s why readers in general sleep better. Reading before bed is said to put your brain in a relaxed state and help you to fall asleep easily. In a study at the University of Sussex, they found that reading only for 6 minutes will already slow down your heart rate and relax your muscles.
Reading helps you to expand your horizon
Through reading, we can discover worlds we otherwise wouldn’t even know existed. We can step into someone else’s shoes and see the world through his eyes. Books can help us to grow personally. They can provide us with a different perspective, teach us about different cultures and ways of thinking. This not only makes you open up to new concepts but also helps you to strengthen your own point of view.
Reading improves your storytelling skills
When we read we also train our brain for writing. We absorb things like sentence structure, vocabulary, and writing style without even noticing. This helps us to create better content.
Further, we learn how to tell a good story. Even when you’re immersed in the story the author tells you can see how he build his characters or created tension. The more you read the more you learn about storytelling and improve your own skills. This is very important because with everything we create, from writing over painting to photography, we’re always telling a story.
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Reading nurtures your creativity
Lastly, reading inspires. Books open new worlds to us and let us discover them. Words turn into images and trigger new ideas. For me, creativity is a box. A box full of ideas and inspiration. You need to constantly refill this box because in your work you keep taking and profiting from this creativity.
Reading is one thing you can do to nurture your creativity and avoid running out on ideas or what we call “having a creative block” one day.
Try it out. Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day.
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