by Kathy Zabaneh
“Books are a uniquely portable magic” – Stephen King
Thanks to COVID–19, I have recently reignited my love of reading. It has become an excellent anxiety annihilator, boredom buster, and entertainment enhancer. Have I mentioned reading has also improved my vocabulary?
It is said that children learn to read, and then read to learn, and hopefully along the way, love to read. I have been questioning why my dedication to reading changed as I got into middle age? Why did I stop reading for enjoyment and let my love of reading fall to the wayside?
Many reasons I assume. My busy life…lack of interest…or maybe it was those electronics which are always readily available.
Reading to someone else, or having someone read to me, has always brought me joy. Our family recently rekindled a family read where we chose a novel, and each read a chapter aloud. Reading aloud by a roaring fire in a quiet family room has been something that we all look forward to after a draining workload or stressful school day. It makes not being able to attend regular activities easier to accept. You could also read to a loved one over Zoom or Facetime.
As COVID stretched on, I found myself looking for a way to take me out of my own headspace for a while. I was wanting a stress reducer and I was wanting an escape.
A recent study found that a “mere six minutes of reading was shown to reduce muscle tension and slowed down the heart rates of readers as well. Overall, it reduced stress levels by an impressive 68 percent.”.
I find that reading makes me feel better…. lighter. Reading is an important tool to improve concentration and focus. I have found that while reading for pleasure, I have been feeling more creative. Reading helps get the creative side of your brain thinking and can inspire you.
I read a wonderful book that made me realize I am not alone in my struggle with hard times. Strife has happened many times throughout civilization, and people are resilient and strong and like many of us, I too can get past myself and look toward a brighter tomorrow. Reading brought me a greater perspective about strife and heartache. It took me away from how I was feeling, and brought my focus into a bigger picture, and helped me feel resilient and empowered, while feeling empathy toward the character in my book.
I look forward to the next chapter in the book I am reading, and the life we are living.