Does all reading have to be done for the specific purpose of learning something new and stretching our minds? The answer is no. There is nothing wrong with picking up a book and reading it just for fun. In fact, after a busy or tiring day, reading for relaxation is one of my favorite ways to unwind before turning out the light and going to sleep.
Reading Can Reduce Technology Usage.
So how is reading for relaxation a good thing? One benefit of reading an actual book is that it keeps us off of technology during that time. Many people (I’ll admit I do this too sometimes) use their cell phones as a way to relax, but when it’s time to wind down at the end of the day, to prepare to go to sleep, this is not a good way to relax. The light from screens keeps you awake and doesn’t allow your brain to shutdown.
I’ve heard that it is best to be off technology completely for two hours before you go to bed. I don’t always do it, as you will see in the example below, but I do try (notice try) to put my phone away awhile before going to bed. If you do this, reading is a great alternative to fill the time when you would normally be using electronics.
My personal experience is that even reading a book on your phone or laptop is not necessarily a good way to relax. Just last night I was reading an e-book on my phone. This was the first time that I had read an e-book of any length on my phone, and I noticed something as I read and after I had finished the book. My mind seemed to be working double-time, and I was caught up in the story so much more than I normally am. Now, the book was quite exciting, I will admit that, but it was not as exciting as some I have read, yet it affected me a lot more than they did.
After finishing the book, it took a long, long time for my mind to shut down and allow me to go to sleep. I finally came to the conclusion that reading on my phone had contributed to the intensity of the story. This experience made me realize just how much technology can affect our brains. The stimulation they give isn’t always a bad thing, but it isn’t good to have it when we are relaxing. One of the main reasons I like my Nook e-reader so much is because it allows me to read a lot e-books without creating the stimulation that comes from a phone, tablet, or laptop. The reason for this is because it is a Nook paperwhite, meaning the pages look almost the same as the pages in a book.
Reading Below Your Level Doesn’t Work Your Brain As Much.
Besides as a means of avoiding technology, how else does reading help us to relax? One way I’ve found reading to be quite relaxing is if I read a book that is a little below my reading level. When I’m feeling stressed or especially tired and don’t feel like concentrating very much on something, I enjoy pulling a book off the bookshelf that I enjoyed when I was younger. The content is simpler and easy for me to focus on. Reading these stories, I’m able to relax. If you’re too tired to focus on something at your reading level, you might want to give this idea a try. Not all reading for relaxation has to be a simple (or not-so-simple) story. I enjoy reading non-fiction books too and sometimes choose them as my book to relax with.
Reading Gives Your Mind A Rest From Your Activities.
Sometimes when we are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or worried, picking up a book and reading for awhile is just the thing we need to rest our mind and temporarily take a break from whatever is causing us stress.
Now, when we are under pressure, taking a break to read isn’t always the best option. Imagine this: You are getting ready for company to come over for a meal. Your house is still rather messy, you need to get a dessert made, the meat for supper is still partially frozen, and it’s only an hour until your guests arrive. So what do you do? You say to yourself, “I’m so overwhelmed I don’t know where to begin. I know! I’ll just sit down and read for a little while. That will help me feel better.”
So you sit down in a comfy chair with a book and a cup of coffee and quickly become lost in another world where there are no soon approaching guests and dinner parties. Ring! It’s the doorbell, and an hour has past. Your company is right on time, and you are no closer to being ready than you were an hour ago. “Oh no! What do I do?” you moan, as you look in the mirror at your messy hair, dirty apron, and the disorderly living-room in the background.
Doesn’t this scenario make you shudder just to think about it? It would be a nightmare if something like this really happened. At a time like this when you are on a time crunch, reading is not the solution to feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Getting in and tackling everything is the solution then.
But there are times when life in general is causing stress, and there’s not anything in particular we can do about it. We might not be feeling our best, or there might be something else going on. At a time like this, reading is a good option, since it allows us the opportunity to take a break from everything going on around us and enjoy some R&R (Reading and Relaxation).
If it’s the middle of the afternoon, and you’re ready for a time to rest, resting with a book allows you to really rest, since you are momentarily putting aside everything you still need to do. You aren’t thinking about the laundry, supper, or anything else that needs done. You are really resting as you enjoy a good book.
Reading For Relaxation With A Cup Of Coffee
As I mentioned in the last section, not all reading for relaxation has to be done in the evening. If your schedule allows it, there’s nothing wrong with taking a little time in the morning or afternoon to read while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. I enjoy doing this once in awhile, though my favorite way to relax and read during the afternoon is by taking my book outside (when the weather allows it, and it’s not too cold or too hot) and reading in the hammock swing in my flower garden. This may not be an option for you, but a comfy chair, the couch, or your bed are also nice places to curl up with a good book and a fun drink and spend some time relaxing.
What are some books that you enjoy reading for relaxation? Do you prefer relaxing with light reading or something that is considered educational and informative?