“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” – Confucius
Let me ask you a question. Are you one of the 25% of Americans who have not read a single book in the whole of last year? If you are, then read this because you will be amazed at how beneficial reading is for your health, especially if you read before bed. If you already do, just pat yourself on the back because you really know how to look after yourself. Here are six amazing things that will happen when you dedicate some time to reading before bed.
“So much is yet to come. Soon will be blankets and pillows, and books by the bed to make the stuff of dreams. And then tomorrows.” – Jim McCann, Return of the Dapper Men
1. You will sleep better
Reading helps put your consciousness on another plane, which will induce sleep. Look at how children adore stories before bedtime, as that helps them to get a great night’s sleep. Moving into a fictional world eases the tension and helps them relax better. That is one of the best ways to get a really restful sleep. What a pity it is that so many of us lose this habit as adults.
2. You will reduce your stress levels
Researchers at the University of Surrey (UK) did a study to see if stress levels were reduced by reading, especially before bed. They found that stress levels were reduced by as much as 68 percent. So, if you are stressed out, why not pick up a book before you go to bed? It will really help you to switch off and de-stress.
3. You will become more creative
You might think that high-powered executives will read books on marketing before they drift off. Actually, many successful entrepreneurs read anything and everything before bedtime. Why? Research shows that they are going to be much more creative and will have more passion for their projects. It is like looking at the world with a different pair of glasses every time. You begin to see problems, people, and situations with more creativity and ingenuity. We need a brain workout a lot more than that workout in the gym which we are so hung up about.Advertising
4. You will be able to concentrate better
All that messaging and playing around with social media while trying to keep up with everything that is happening in the world is ruining our concentration. We never really concentrate on anything. But reading before bedtime will force us to process the information without all the visual aids of the computer or smartphone. We are training our brains to concentrate. It can help us focus on our to-do list for tomorrow. If you don’t use it, you will lose it.
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx
5. You will be a more empathetic person
What makes you empathetic? It is simply the ability to see the world from the perspective of another person and to be more sympathetic to where they are coming from. Reading fiction is a marvelous way to discover and understand how others feel and act. The work of Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada supports the premise that reading can make us more empathetic:Advertising
“Narratives offer a unique opportunity to engage this capacity, as we identify with characters’ longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies, neighbors and lovers.” – Raymond Mar
6. You will create an oasis of peace and serenity
What is the best way to wind down before bedtime? Certainly not with the TV on with a violent police drama, or the news with depressing headlines. You need to create a quiet space where you can calm your nerves and help your mind get ready for sleep. The blue light emitted from TV and computer screens will do the opposite. This is why there is nothing like reading a book to quieten everything and everyone down. By the way, the experts say that if you choose an e-book instead of a paper book, your reading speed can be reduced by as much as 30 percent.
“But a book is a book is a book. A reassuring, feel-the-weight, take-your-own-time kind of thing.” – Garland, 1982
Featured photo credit: Jean-Etienne Minh- Duy Poirrier via flickr.com
Last Updated on January 21, 2020
The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want
Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.
Why You Need a Vision
Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.
How to Create Your Life Vision
Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.
What Do You Want?
The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.
It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.
Some tips to guide you:
- Remember to ask why you want certain things
- Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
- Give yourself permission to dream.
- Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
- Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.
Some questions to start your exploration:
- What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
- What would you like to have more of in your life?
- Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
- What are your secret passions and dreams?
- What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
- What do you want your relationships to be like?
- What qualities would you like to develop?
- What are your values? What issues do you care about?
- What are your talents? What’s special about you?
- What would you most like to accomplish?
- What would legacy would you like to leave behind?
It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.
What Would Your Best Life Look Like?
Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.
A few prompts to get you started:
- What will you have accomplished already?
- How will you feel about yourself?
- What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
- What does your ideal day look like?
- Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
- What would you be doing?
- Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
- How are you dressed?
- What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
- What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
- Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.
It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next step. Give yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.
It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.
- What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
- What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
- What would you have needed to learn along the way?
- What important actions would you have had to take?
- What beliefs would you have needed to change?
- What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
- What type of support would you have had to enlist?
- How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
- What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?
Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.
It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.
Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com