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8 Amazing Things Would Happen If You Have A Reading Plan

8 Amazing Things Would Happen If You Have A Reading Plan

Even though many of us do most of our reading in the form of texts or Facebook posts, there are good reasons to pick up an actual book on a regular basis. Reading—specifically, reading real books—has been linked to a wide range of mental, physical, and social health benefits. It’s easy to reap these rewards; simply develop a consistent reading plan and stick to it. Need some convincing? Here’s what to expect when you become an avid reader.

You’ll keep your brain in top shape

Research has found that reading stimulates the brain and helps prevent cognitive decline, thereby helping the brain function properly for the long term (avid readership may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease). This may be partly because from a neurobiological perspective, reading is more challenging than looking at images or listening to a speech or audio book. That means that we have to focus, concentrate, and rely on memory recall in the pursuit of new knowledge—all of which gives the brain a workout. In other words? Reading is one of the most affordable and accessible brain boosters. The earlier you become a regular reader, the greater the benefits later in life, so pick up a book ASAP.

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You’ll be motivated to accomplish goals

Research out of Ohio State University found that reading about a character or person who overcame obstacles can motivate you to do the same, reports Reader’s Digest. Looking to hike the Appalachian Trail or finally quit that soul-sucking job? Reading about people who already accomplished those goals can make you more likely to follow through.

You’ll become more empathetic

Multiple studies have confirmed that reading fiction that “emotionally transports” you into another world, character, or perspective can boost your ability to understand or identify with the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of other people. And that means you’ll be better able to form meaningful relationships (or at least cut telemarketers some slack).

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You’ll reduce stress

In one study, reading was found to be one of the most effective ways to eliminate stress (It proved even more effective than listening to music, taking a walk, or drinking a cup of tea). That may be partly because reading helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol. It only took participants six minutes of reading before they started to relax, so dive into a paperback if you’re ever in need of a quick pick-me-up.

You’ll fall asleep easier

Developing a calming bedtime routine is helpful for anyone looking to fall asleep faster and get better quality shut-eye. For better sleep, ditch alcohol, electronics, and cigarettes before bed and pick up a book instead—reading is a great way to unwind and relax before turning off the light.

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You’ll become more interesting

Reading allows us to learn new things, gain fresh perspectives, and expand our minds. And that means readers can not only teach themselves new skills or knowledge, but also share it with other people. It certainly beats talking about the weather.

You’ll be more satisfied with your life

One survey found that adults who read for a minimum of 30 minutes a week were 20 percent more likely to report feeling satisfied with their lives and also reported having higher self-esteem and greater self-acceptance than non-readers. The survey’s authors theorized that this is partly because reading can help us feel less alone by connecting us to other people’s experiences. In fact, the same survey found that readers tend to be more socially engaged and appreciative of cultural diversity than non-readers—all of which can infuse a life with more meaning.

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You’ll save money

The average novel costs around $13 for a new paperback version; you’ll spend even less if you shop at used book stores. Compare that to the money spent on other forms of entertainment such as eating out, sporting events, or nights out at the bar. That’s not to say that you need to become a hermit, but swapping in the occasional reading night for other, more expensive entertainment options will give your wallet a break.

Convinced? If you’re ready to become a reader but aren’t sure how to begin, start by choosing books or genres that interest you the most (and don’t be embarrassed if that includes romance novels or self-help books). It can also be helpful to cancel cable TV or your Netflix account (gasp!), to schedule in reading time on your calendar, or to join a book group so that other people can help hold you accountable to your reading goals. However you choose to approach it, developing a reading plan will do your mind and body good.

Featured photo credit: Moyan Brenn via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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