GYM VLOG #10
Author: Julia Dulgerova
Through the years, generations have been reading less and less books although books are widely available. This could be because of the rise of technology and screens being entertaining, as well as many other reasons. But speaking from personal experience, I think public school was a big part of me reading less. Purely because we weren’t allowed to choose what we read, a lot of the times we didn’t enjoy the books because we had to over analyze every detail and simply because we weren’t allowed to choose the book, we were reading there was a collective lack of interest.
It took me until sophomore year of high school to start developing a love for reading. And now, a few months after graduating high school I can confirm that I make the personal choice to read every day. And I’m writing this to try and convince you guys to just give reading a try. Don’t knock it till you try it!
Of course, reading expands knowledge and you can learn a lot from books, but if you think you don’t like reading, I recommend you start with easy-to-read novels. This is a good way to ease yourself into reading, and then you can progress into reading things like self-help books or books that are specific to your interests.
Last week I wrote about the detrimental effects of using screens, especially before bed. Well, a great alternative to screens before bed is reading a book. I find reading before bed to be very calming, relaxing, and entertaining while being beneficial. Similarly, grabbing your phone right as you wake up isn’t great either, but if you’re like me and can’t just hop out of bed, try reading for 10-15 minutes. It allows me to slowly wake up and ease into the day.
Basically, as a team we need to bring reading back. Why is it that it is uncommon to see a teen reading a book? We even get weird looks from peers if we are reading instead of scrolling on our phones.
An article I recently read wrote “In recent years, less than 20 percent of U.S. teens report reading a book, magazine or newspaper daily for pleasure, while more than 80 percent say they use social media every day”. This lack of reading is affecting not only our intelligence but also attention span and ability to focus. If you think about it, when you start reading a book it can take a few pages for you to get intrigued, and then the buildup begins until ultimately the book reaches the climax, falling action and conclusion. Between all these stages of the plot, there could be periods of time where you are reading and waiting for the next big thing to happen, but you read on because you want to see what happens in the end. On the other hand, if you are watching a YouTube video and the first few minutes don’t intrigue you enough, you click the next one. If you are watching a reel, short, or TikTok, if the first few seconds aren’t interesting you scroll on. This means that ultimately, our ability to be attentive and focus on one thing at a time is decreasing. We seek constant entertainment and stimulation from technology. But books have an incredible ability to be a slow release of entertainment, in addition to benefiting our conversation skills, writing skills, and much more.
Brain scans have been done on people who were reading a novel, and the results showed that as the story was building and tension built, areas of the brain began to increase and light up with activity. Brain connectivity increased especially in the part of the brain that is able to respond to things like movement, pain etc.
It’s especially important for children and parents to read together as soon as possible. It’s recommended that parents read to their children starting from infancy and continuing on through elementary school. Reading books with parents builds a good and happy association with books and building a routine each day for reading is even better! Personally, I think this could even bring good nostalgic feelings to a child as they grow older, and their desire to read will be even greater. Plus, the addition of school performance being better later on, as well as increased vocabulary, good communication skills, and development of the brain overall.
But even if you didn’t have the chance to build good associations with reading in your childhood, it’s never too late to start reading!
People who read literary fiction and novels get the ability to explore the lives as well as thoughts and feelings of characters in the stories. This has shown to heighten the readers ability to understand the feelings of others, increasing the ability to empathize. Teens who read gain a set of skills essential for building, navigating, and maintaining social relationships.
It has even been proven that people who read, starting earlier has been most effective (but again it’s never too late to start), are less likely to develop brain issues and cognitive decline. Even things like plaques, lesions, and tangles associated with people with dementia are less likely to happen to people who continually read throughout their lives.
Implementing reading into your daily schedule reduces stress. Especially if you pair reading with some meditation, journaling, and exercise, your ability to cope with stress will be incredible. 30 minutes of reading lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and psychological distress. And if you have a great book that you love, 30 minutes of reading will be easy! To go along with decreasing stress, reading fiction allows you to jump into someone else’s mind or world and be swept away into the imagined lives of the characters. Escaping your own mind and being absorbed in a book can give you a different perspective on your situation, as well as allowing your brain to rest from whatever you may be going through. Ultimately, this can help alleviate depression symptoms. Nonfiction self-help books can also teach you ways to relieve and help cope with any symptoms you may be experiencing.
Reading has many benefits, and when you find a genre or author that you resonate with, reading becomes more enjoyable than watching a tv show or staring at social media. So, I challenge anyone who sees this to pick up a book and give reading a try!
Here Are Some Resources You Can Use to Learn More About Why Reading is Great and More!
Self Help Book About Building Good Habits
Self Help Book About The Power of Consciousness
Article About Why You Should Read More
List Of Classic Novels To Read
List Of Great Books for Teens
List Of Popular Books Many Like