“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 September 20, 2018
How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful
Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…
If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:
The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:
- Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
- Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
- Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.
Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.
2. Loosen up
After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?
Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.
3. Chew slowly
Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).
Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.
Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.
4. Let go
Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.
The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?
It’s not. Promise.
Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.
Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:
5. Enjoy the journey
Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.
Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.
6. Look at the big picture
The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:
Will this matter to me…
- Next week?
- Next month?
- Next year?
- In 10 years?
Hint: No, it won’t.
I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.
Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.
7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself
You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.
Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.
8. Practice patience every day
Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:
- The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
- Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
- Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.
Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.
Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.
Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com