Because burying your face in a book is way sexier than burying your face in your smartphone.
You’re attached to the technology you carry around with you. Your laptop, your smartphone, your tablet. And you spend all day using them, in your own crazy synchronous order. As you should. They are your tools, your mediums, to communicate with and influence the world. All those apps and all that power of the internet at your fingertips. Technology is a difficult thing to part with, especially when it’s so convenient.
A bad habit is to bring your laptop home from work and starting to use it again. Netflix, fine. Facebook, sure. But you receive a never-ending stream of notifications, every day, all the time. And before you know it, you’re back at it again — sending emails, finishing copy for a campaign, writing a blog post for the next day, or just browsing pointless memes and reading imaginary articles on The Onion.
Whatever you’re doing on your laptop, and then your phone, and then your laptop, and then back to your phone, you’re putting your brain to work again. And burying your face in a screen all day not only looks ridiculous, it actually dulls your cognitive abilities. Give it a break.
Leave your laptop at the office when you go home at night, turn off your smartphone, and replace them with a book.
Reading a book allows you to borrow someone else’s brain for a while. Take advantage of it. No matter how much stress you have from work, personal relationships, or any other facet of daily life, technology never eases it. Reading a book does, however, allow it to all just slip away when you lose yourself in a story.
There is also the attraction of reserving something private for ourselves, something outside of the public world of relationship, family, work, and occupation; something that is not encumbered by the structure of time and self. Needing to feel “connected” at all times?
Current research suggests that books give readers more than an opportunity to tune out and submerge themselves in fantasy worlds. Books provide the opportunity for “social connection” and the blissful calm that comes from becoming a part of something larger than oneself for a precious, fleeting moment, according to Gabriel and Young. That sounds better than scrolling the Facebook feed or sending cat memes in group texts.
The most successful people, on average, read 10 books per year, whereas the average (yes, the average) person reads only 1 book per year. How many books did you read last year? Reading is like exercising. It automatically increases happiness and quality of life the second you start doing it. Have you ever read a book and felt more stressed? I haven’t. Scared, sure. Sad, yes. Happy, most definitely. It’s also a nice way to relax. I read it because it doesn’t work. Because it draws me away from reality. It’s better for me to imagine things in my head than to watch them on TV, or by phone, or my laptop.
Reading is healthy, just like orange juice or a morning run, so try to find time for it.
Maybe the biggest side effect of reading is knowledge. Reading is learning. Romance novels, for example, are likely to promote empathy. Not only romance novels though. Reading any artistic literature can make people more empathetic and understanding, because the process itself is like a conversation, getting to know a person.
It also encourages readers to examine their own emotions and behaviors and makes them more open to new experiences. And that’s going to make you more productive and more personal when you get back on your laptop at work tomorrow.
We read to assure ourselves that the search for meaning is relentless and that many creative minds have made all sorts of the wild and wonderful sense of it all, or not — but even the chaotic, nihilistic texts are bound in covers and are structured into comprehendible stories.
Reading a book can make you feel more connected to people, places and things, to the earth and to the universe. So for God’s sake, read a book.