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The Surprising Power of Reading Fiction: 9 Ways it Make Us Happier and More Creative

Reading As A Form Of Meditation

With just six minutes of silent reading, a person can lower their heart rate and ease the tension in their muscles by about 68 percent.

Reading puts our mind in a low gear, resting its cognitive ‘chips’ and disengaging it from active duty for a while. Reading puts our mind into a light trance, a form of meditation, and has similar benefits like relaxation and a peaceful, calm feeling.

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Top business leaders and CEOs usually recommend non-fiction books, however, studies point towards fiction as an effective way to enhance the brain's ability to keep an open mind while processing information, leading to effective decision making.

Non-readers often jump to conclusions, but the ones who invest in reading are more thoughtful, creative and comfortable with competing narratives and contradictory information.

Tsundoku
Tsundoku

Many of us have a desire to read. We buy books, but then the demands of work and family catch up with us, and we never get round to reading the books. The Japanese calls it tsundoku

Finding the time for books

To give books the attention and time it deserves in your life, you need to make it a higher priority. It means you have to change your habits and routines to allow more reading.

Sometimes, your reading needs only a little encouragement to displace something that should be lower down on your list. For example, to forgo watching television and reading a book instead.

The reading habit: Succeeding long-term
  • First consider why you want to read more books. Reading should be enjoyable for you because you find them entertaining, calming, stimulating, and fascinating. Once the habit is set, you can also read other things you "should" read.
  • Change your surroundings to make it easier for you to grab a book. Reading apps can be prominent on your phone. Physical books should be in places that you most often frequent.
  • Create modest reading goals. Permit yourself to start with reading one page a day. Once the habit is established, you can increase it.
  • Once you have laid the foundation for your new reading habit, create an action association, such as reading on the train to work or with your mid-morning coffee or dinner.
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The To-Go Box Method

For a weight-loss hack, it goes like this: As soon as you order a meal at a restaurant, ask immediately that half of it be put in a to-go box once it’s ready and only the other half served to you. It’s basically a stricter version of portion control.

We can apply the same technique to get ourselves to read more.

Instead of 2 hours of Netflix each night, cutting it in half would still give you the satisfaction of watching Netflix in the evenings but also free up time to read as well.

Book Summaries

Preview the book in order to vet whether or not it’s worth investing your time in.

  • Use book summaries. Find apps that give accurate and concise summaries of many of the most popular books out there and are constantly updating their library.
  • Use podcast interviews with the author. Authors often go on the podcast circuit to promote their books.