10 Wellbeing Benefits of Reading
I’ll totally admit it, I went years without reading as much as I wanted to. I had a stack of books I loved, had either read once and collected like a trophy, or used frequently as reference for yoga. I acquired a worn copy of Moby Dick that I actually traveled with, so I would look cool as I tossed it up on my tray table in flight. It went with my carefully-styled eclectic cozy look. Sometimes I would grab a book randomly, wondering if its appearance on a shelf or bookstore table was some sort of universal sign to guide me. I’d turn to a page, see what was there, and move along.
For all these years, the books I did read had a pretty direct line to helping me be better at leading yoga. My copy of Between Heaven and Earth and The Web that Has No Weaver, both books on shiatsu and healing, are pretty worn in. The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Castaneda was a nightly assignment, always looking for my hands and trying at lucid dreaming. What I do is my passion. But, I had a missing space for pleasure and joy.
At the risk of of this next part sounding silly and flowery, the book angel of joy walked into my life, through IGTV. I know. I know.
During the early lockdown days of 2020, I collaborated with National Geographic on a book called Yoga Animals. There wasn’t much to do during the launch, besides zoom and radio with a bunch of places that were arranged for me. One of the events set up was an IGTV live with Zibbby Owens. I went on her page, and there she was, so excited and kind to interview me about my book. The whole time I was thinking, wow, this gal is so nice, can we be friends please? She had me in a 10 minute slot, to share something super unique, informative and fun. Eager to learn more about her, I stayed on her page after our chat. There she was with another author for 10 minutes, and another, and another. This gal wants to help authors and help people read more.
I dm’d her, as you do to thank someone and say things like, holy wow you are so cool. Zibby had a book coming out in a few months, and I asked if I could interview her on my IG live. We did that. I kept tuning into her page, and she kept interviewing and interviewing authors.
As a sensible progression and super rad move, Zibby started a publishing company, Zibby Books, where she helps authors and readers by bringing a super fresh approach to publishing. Boss move!
Zibby reaches out and tells me the first novel they are publishing for Zibby Books, Women Are the Fiercest Creatures by Andrea Dunlop, has a main character who’s a yoga teacher and we should do something together for the launch. Heck yeah, let’s go! I think, oh, we could make a book-themed yoga class for it on the Strala Yoga app and share that around for readers.
Zibby’s into it. She invites me to basically tag along to the launch week in NYC, followed by a Zibby Retreat with over 100 guests in the Hamptons. It was an energizing and super fun week. I led yoga at the events and helped authors and readers feel better and more connected. Zibby feels like a soul sis. She wants more people to read. I want people to practice yoga with ease. There is lots of fun work to do!
So, inspired by Zibby, we started a book club called Strala Reads that focuses on reading as part of wellbeing. Slow down. Soften. Breathe. Read! We are a chapter of Zibby Books, because Zibby thinks of everything and creates community with joy and ease. We are psyched to have Strala be part of Zibby Book Chapters!
If you’re feeling the pull to take better care of yourself, do your yoga, and also read. They are both wonderful for your wellbeing, and we’ve got community right here for you. So roll out your yoga mat, grab a book, and feel better!
Here is a nice list of wellbeing benefits of reading, in case you need some extra inspiration. But for real, join Strala Reads. Reading is more fun together!
1. Reading Exercises the Brain
While reading, we have to remember different characters and settings that belong to a given story. Even if you enjoy reading a book in one sitting, you have to remember the details throughout the time you take to read the book. Therefore, reading is a workout for your brain that improves memory function.
2. Reading is a Form of (free) Entertainment
Did you know that most of the popular TV shows and movies are based on books? So why not indulge in the original form of entertainment by immersing yourself in reading. Most importantly, it’s free with your library card.
3. Reading Improves Concentration and the Ability to Focus
We can all agree that reading cannot happen without focus and in order to fully understand the story, we have to concentrate on each page that we read. In a world where gadgets are only getting faster and shortening our attention span, we need to constantly practice concentration and focus. Reading is one of the few activities that requires your undivided attention, therefore, improving your ability to concentrate.
4. Reading Improves Literacy
Have you ever read a book where you came across an unfamiliar word? Books have the power to improve your vocabulary by introducing you to new words. The more you read, the more your vocabulary grows, along with your ability to effectively communicate. Additionally, reading improves writing skills by helping the reader understand and learn different writing styles.
5. Reading Improves Sleep
By creating a bedtime routine that includes reading, you can signal to your body that it is time to sleep. Now, more than ever, we rely on increased screen time to get through the day. Therefore, by setting your phone aside and picking up a book, you are telling your brain that it is time to quiet down. Moreover, since reading helps you de-stress, doing so right before bed helps calm your mind and anxiety and improve the quality of sleep.
6. Reading Increases General Knowledge
Books are always filled with fun and interesting facts. Whether you read fiction or non-fictions, books have the ability to provide us with information we would’ve otherwise not known. Reading a variety of topics can make you a more knowledgeable person, in turn improving your conversation skills.
7. Reading is Motivational
By reading books about protagonists who have overcome challenges, we are oftentimes encouraged to do the same. The right book can motivate you to never give up and stay positive, regardless of whether it’s a romance novel or a self-help book.
8. Reading Reduces Stress
Reading has the power to transport you to another world and away from the monotonous daily routine. By doing so, reading can decrease stress, lower heart rate and reduce blood pressure.
9. Reading Sets a Positive Example
Reading is a key component of early literacy development and you can set an example of just how crucial this is by modeling the behaviour yourself. Children are excellent at mimicking the adults around them which means that if you regularly set aside some “me time” for reading, your children will learn to do the same.
10. Reading Teaches Empathy
Books allow us to experience realities outside of our lives. They teach us to relate to others by often putting us in the shoes of the narrator. This simple technique is called empathy. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Reading builds on empathy by constantly presenting us with thoughts and scenarios outside of our perspective.