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How to Be Mindful While Reading

Mindfulness Through Reading

  1. Find some quiet time to read when there is ample time to indulge and pick something engaging but not too challenging.
  2. Try to read from a physical book but if you have to read from a smartphone or tablet, disable notifications and turn on the soothing reading mode.
  3. As you progress in the book, notice the color, ink and the smell of the pages, your slowing down or getting sleepy is a good sign, it means your brain is responding to this new, refreshing cycle of activity.
  4. Notice the language, the rhythm of the sentences, the vibrant details that build a visual image inside your mind.
  5. Do not be frustrated if you wander, it is part of reading to get lost in something beautiful.
  6. Gently glide back in the book and enjoy whatever you get out of it.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Be Mindful While Reading

How to Be Mindful While Reading

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/well/mind/how-to-be-mindful-while-reading.html

nytimes.com

2

Key Ideas

Reading: A Meditation

Reading can be harnessed into a great opportunity for mindfulness, and provide us with space to be in the present moment.

Many times a day, we unconsciously read a banner advertisement or a text notification on our smartphones, not realizing that we only read passively, and not give much thought to this amazing ability.

Mindfulness Through Reading

  1. Find some quiet time to read when there is ample time to indulge and pick something engaging but not too challenging.
  2. Try to read from a physical book but if you have to read from a smartphone or tablet, disable notifications and turn on the soothing reading mode.
  3. As you progress in the book, notice the color, ink and the smell of the pages, your slowing down or getting sleepy is a good sign, it means your brain is responding to this new, refreshing cycle of activity.
  4. Notice the language, the rhythm of the sentences, the vibrant details that build a visual image inside your mind.
  5. Do not be frustrated if you wander, it is part of reading to get lost in something beautiful.
  6. Gently glide back in the book and enjoy whatever you get out of it.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Unfinished Books

Due to unlimited distractions, shorter attention spans and increased boredom, we aren't finishing the books we start to read. Our impulsive and fickle nature is also to blame.

Add Some Variety

The mind needs variety and diverse types of stimuli at different times. Reading several books at once, of different genres is a smart way to be able to cater to the mind's different needs at different times. It is also a good idea to not have more than a few books in your current reading list. The recommended number is 3.

Let Go Of Certain Books

If reading a certain book is beginning to feel like a burden to you, you are free to let go. The reason can be any, but it is no use wasting your time in a book that isn't speaking to you.

Letting go of a book provides closure and unburdens your mind.

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Note-taking: a powerful tool for learning
  • Notes extend your memories: writing can be seen as an external enhancement of your brain, allowing you to think more complicated thoughts and solve harder problems.
  • Not...
How to Take Notes While Reading
  1. Figure out your purpose.
  2. Choose a technique that maximizes your focus on what is most relevant for your purpose. 
  3. Decide whether to optimize for review or retrieval practice.  
  4. If you do need to go back into the text again and again, create clues in your notes that can help you find what you’re looking for faster.
Figure out your purpose

Ask yourself why are you reading:

  • What am I trying to remember? 
  • How am I going to use this information? (e.g. on a test, cited in an essay, etc.)
  • What do I plan to do with the notes later? Will you be studying off of them extensively? Or maybe you’re just taking notes to stay focused, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll look through them after?

3 more ideas

Meta-Learning

It's knowing how to learn. Learning itself is a skill, and knowing how to do it well is an incredibly valuable advantage.

Merely acquiring information is not learning....

Learning has 2 phases

Learning is a two-step process:

  • Read/listen: feeding ourselves new information.
  • Process and recall what you’ve just ‘learned’: connecting new materials to what we already knew.
Remembering the right things

You should not waste your time by committing unimportant details to memory. 

Your focus should be on understanding the bigger picture, on how things relate to each other.

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Mindfulness at work
Mindfulness at work

Means being consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, as well as managing your mental and emotional state. 

If you’re writing a report, mindfulness requires...

1 min/session

That’s the minimum required for a mini-mediation.

Just focus on your sense. You don’t need to close your eyes. You don’t even need to be sitting down.

Use Mindful Reminders

You can use interruptions as hooks to make you more mindful.

Every time your phone rings, take a mindful breath. Every time you hear the ping of a text message, pause to be mindful of your surroundings rather than immediately reacting by checking the message. 

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What mindfulness is
What mindfulness is

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

What meditation is

Meditation is exploring. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: sensations, emotions and thoughts.

Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

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Skimmed Read

Reading is a complex process that involves the brain's visual and auditory processes, phonemic awareness, fluency and comprehension. There are billions of pages available to read online,...

Slow Is Good

The speed-reading habit is making us lose our deep attention and focus, gradually shunning denser, more complicated content. Instead of optimizing for speed, we need to optimize for comprehension, deep understanding, and retention of information.

Deep or slow reading, when the brain is attentive, absorbing, understanding and analyzing text expands our attention span and improves concentration and learning.

Better, Not Faster Reading

The brain develops stronger analytical skills and gets into critical thinking mode, forming new connections and even creates new ideas.

Deep focusing on a book is one of the best investments of your time.

Strategies speed readers use
Strategies speed readers use
  • Skimming: quickly going through passages to find the main points.
  • Meta guiding uses a pointer, such as your index finger or a pen, to guide your eyes along the lines...
Effectiveness of Speed Reading

Regardless of which reading method you use, the evidence points towards the fact that speed comes at the sacrifice of understanding.

Depending on what you’re reading, this might not necessarily be a bad thing: If you’re trying to get through a dry piece to capture a few key points or you are going through a short piece that’s easy to understand, speed reading strategies might make sense.

Make the most of what you read
  1. Choose different reading pieces for different occasions: articles and light reads can be reserved for short periods. Books that require less focus can be listened to in audio format etc.
  2. Incorporate reading into your daily habit: put a book on your bedside table.
  3. Share your reads with others, to help you to better understand and appreciate what you read.
  4. Reflect on your reading: take notes or check out films that are based on novels (to compare interpretations).
Difference between libraries and archives

History comes out of an archive, not a library.

  • Libraries spread knowledge that's been collected and compressed into books and other media.
  • Archives are where colle...
Archives and the digitization of knowledge

Unlike libraries, archives have generally resisted the digitization of knowledge. They are still mostly paper where you might spend weeks to months working through all the boxes of interest.

The tools are changing

With the use of smartphones, instead of reading papers during an archival visit, historians take digital photos of the documents to look at them later.

The practice might seem insignificant, but the ways that information is collected and managed is changing what historians can learn from it. As a result, different histories will be written.

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Speed reading
Speed reading
  • Speed reading promises to help anyone read at speeds of above 1000 words per minute with full comprehension.
  • The average college-level reader read at the speed of 200-400 words pe...
How speed reading works

Speed reading uses methods such as chunking, scanning, reducing subvocalization, and using meta guiding. For example, reading the first sentence of each paragraph can indicate if it's worth reading more or to move on. Or guiding your eye by using your finger.

Some researchers looked into speed reading and found there is a trade-off between speed and accuracy.

Speed reading and information retention

Speed reading can help you skim to content, which is useful at times. However, speed reading cannot help you read faster and retain more information.

  • Our eyes are designed only to see a tiny portion of our visual field with the precision needed to recognise a letter in a 10 to 12 point font. Everything outside that small area is blurry. The idea promoted by speed reading that we can use our peripheral vision to see whole sentences is biologically impossible.
  • While we spend most of our time reading forward, our eyes often go back to reread some text. This is the way our brain links content together. Speed reading attempts to help you read faster by showing one word at a time. This has a bad impact on overall comprehension.

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Rebecca Treiman - Psychology PhD

“It is unlikely that readers will be able to double or triple their reading speeds (e.g., from around 250 to 500–7..."

Rebecca Treiman - Psychology PhD
Human Body X Speed Reading

The fovea is a small high visual acuity area in the retina. Our eyes are seriously limited in their precision outside said area.

We can take in only a word or so at each glance, and a little bit about the words on either side. 

Multiple experiments confirm that speed reading,” leads to decreased comprehension of the parts of the text that reader's eyes skip over.

Rebecca Treiman - Psychology PhD
Rebecca Treiman - Psychology PhD

“The factor that most strongly determined reading speed was word-identification ability.”

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