Why You Should Have a Daily Reading Habit

“He that loves reading has everything within his reach.”
— William Godwin

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
— Joseph Addison

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
— Frederick Douglass

Why You Should Have a Daily Reading Habit

Advice for All Who Think Adulting Is Hard

I tend to harp on people to read more. But it’s not just because I like to read.

To me, “reading” is spending quiet time with almost anything written in multiple paragraphs. This can include daily news stories, articles, novels, in-depth movie reviews, self-help books, business news & advice, and even subtitles in foreign flicks.

What it does not include is screen after screen of social media, text messages, common emails, or menu items to be delivered by Door Dash.

I’ve compiled five important reasons for building a daily reading habit. I’m convinced that such a habit is crucial, especially for young people getting ready to start life as an adult (or who think they should already be living on their own as an adult):

1. 🧠 Reading Is Necessary for Mental Stimulation: Reading is a workout for your brain. Just as your body needs exercise to stay healthy, your brain requires different kinds of mental activity. Reading every day keeps your brain active and engaged. It’s like your mind doing push-ups. Studies suggest that regular reading can help prevent certain mental disorders, too. By reading, you’re giving your brain a daily workout and keeping it sharp.

2. 😌 Reading Reduces STRESS: Adulting can be overwhelming! Reading provides an escape. When you dive into a great story or immerse yourself in someone’s well-crafted reporting, your stress seems to melt away. It’s like taking a mini vacation without TSA checks or hidden hotel fees. Plus, while you read, you can stumble across helpful advice or solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had. Reading is not just entertainment; it can be like a stress-relieving meditation session.

3. 📚 Reading Grows Your Stores of Knowledge: Think of books like treasure chests full of information. People have always written down their experiences, discoveries, and insights. By reading, you can tap into vast banks of knowledge. Social media does provide quick bites of information (much of it useless or trivial), but articles and books offer depth and context. Quality reads include everything from self-help to gripping fiction. And what’s more, the knowledge you gain from reading can never be taken away—it’s like having a superpower that never fades.

4. 🗣 Reading Helps You Express Yourself: The more words you know, the better you can express yourself. Reading exposes you to new words, phrases, and ideas. Whether it’s an exciting mystery, a brilliant guide to business, or an inspiring biography about someone you really admire, each page adds to your vocabulary. And having a strong command of language will boost your confidence in both your personal and professional life.

5. 🌟 Reading Builds Empathy: Books introduce you to different worlds, cultures, and perspectives, and when you read about others’ lives, you step into their shoes. You’ll get inside the mind of the lonely billionaire and the destitute father trying to feed his sweet children. This creates empathy—you start understanding people better. And only when you can empathize with others can you adopt others’ knowledge and character traits as your own.

6. EXTRA BONUS: Empathy and understanding will also help you to
    • make friends,
    • make big decisions, and
    • navigate life’s unexpected twists and turns.

Pick up something to read! Whether it’s a short article, a novel, or even a comic. Reading can be about just passing time, but it can also be about expanding horizons, gaining wisdom, and becoming an informed, confident adult!

More About Mental Stimulation and a Healthy Brain 🧠

Imagine your brain as a curious and hungry little creature in your head (but not if that creeps you out!). It needs nourishment just like your body does. Now, let’s compare two types of mental food: proper reading and reading stuff on your phone.

Quality Reads: Think of real reading as a nourishing, home-cooked meal. When you read, your brain feasts on rich vocabulary, complex sentences, and thought-provoking ideas. It’s like savoring a nutritious dish that fuels your intellect and prepares you for adulthood. Reading stimulates various parts of the brain, enhances memory, and encourages critical thinking. It’s the brain’s equivalent of leafy greens and whole grains.

Social Media & Most Texting: Now, let’s talk about digital junk food. Social media and text messages are like the fast-food joints of mental consumption. Why? Let’s break it down:

  • Poor Grammar: Social media is a breeding ground for grammar vermin: typos, stupid abbreviations, ignorant spelling errors, and incomplete sentences. People who don’t read ignorantly make up words when they don’t know the real word (Take conversate for instance. It’s not a word. You sound uneducated if you say it. The real word is converse or just talk). And imagine your brain trying to digest a sentence like “u r gr8 lol.” It’s like feeding it a greasy, half-cooked burger dripping with “special” sauce. Your brain deserves better! There’s nothing clever about being able to read made-up, uneducated language.
  • Soundbites and Memes: Social media serves up soundbites—quick, flashy, and often shallow “information.” It’s like munching on a bag of neon-colored gummy bears. Sure, they’re sweet, but they don’t sustain you. Memes, while entertaining, rarely offer intellectual nourishment. They can be funny, but they’re the mental equivalent of empty calories.
  • Lack of Depth: Social media rarely delves deep. It’s all about skimming surfaces. Imagine your brain nibbling on a tiny, flavorless cracker—it’s gone before you know it. No nutrients, no substance. Just fluff.
  • Incredibly Slanted: Social media usually has an agenda and is skewed toward one point of view. You won’t learn about different parts of the opinion spectrum, and you’ll be one of the polarized bigots who hate the people on the other side, aka, anyone who’s different from them.
  • Instant Gratification: Text messages are like drive-thru meals. You order, and within seconds, ding! There’s your dopamine hit. But it doesn’t last. It’s like gulping down a sugary drink—refreshing for a minute, but ultimately unsatisfying.
  • Attention Span: Social media and texting trains your brain to hop from one idea to another. It’s like grazing around a buffet table without sitting down for a proper meal. Over time, this kind of “reading” causes your attention span to shrink, and your brain becomes jittery, constantly craving novelty, something new. Shortened attention span is also like how porn ruins a healthy sexual relationship.

Why Is This Bad for Mental Functioning?

Just as constant junk food harms your physical health, too much social media and shallow texts hurt your mental well-being.

Your brain gets used to bite-sized content. It forgets how to chew on complex ideas. It’s like forgetting how to cook and trying to survive on microwave dinners. Your mental muscles weaken. This is known as “cognitive shallowing.”

Have you ever tried engaging in a deep conversation after you’ve spent hours scrolling through memes and 30-second videos? It’s like expecting a race car to run smoothly on cheap fuel. Your brain struggles to focus and flits from one distraction to another. This is what we call “reduced focus.”

Social media bombards you with emotions—outrage, envy, excitement, fear—all in rapid succession. It’s like a sugar rush followed by a crash. Your emotional stability wobbles. You become a slave to your emotions rather than a master of your emotions. Do you want your feelings to control you? Or do you want to control your feelings?

Creativity thrives on depth, silence, quality input, and reflection. Social media seldom offers any of those. It’s like trying to grow a lush garden in a concrete parking lot. Your creativity takes a hit; your creative buds wither.

So balance your mental diet! Yes, enjoy the occasional meme or text message snack, but make sure you sit down regularly for a hearty reading meal. Your brain will thank you.

But Reading is Boring!

You’re right, reading can be boring. Eating nutritious vegetables instead of In-N-Out fries isn’t exactly fun, either, but it pays off in the long run.

If it’s just too boring for you, it may be that you’re just having difficulty. You’re likely to struggle if you haven’t read much in a while. Like most other things you value, enjoyable reading may require you to work at it—even when it’s boring.

Also like most things, whatever you practice, you get better at.

Sometimes, adulting feels like a never-ending tutorial level. So here’s five more important reasons why diving into reading is like leveling up in the game of life:

1. 🚀 Visit Epic Worlds: Books are like magical portals. When you read, you step into different realities—whether it’s a grisly murder scene, Hogwarts, a Caribbean beach at midnight, or a distant planet. It’s like unlocking secret levels. Bored at home? Bam! Book opens, you’re battling dragons or solving crimes. Plus, you can stay in your underwear while exploring—no uniform or superhero suit required.

2. 🔥 Boost Your Conversation Skills: Reading gives you great conversation mojo. You know those awkward silences? Reading fills ’em up. Imagine dropping a casual “Did you know at the lowest point on the ocean floor…” or “I’m reading the coolest book about starting your own business with just $100.” Instant cool points!

3. 🌟 Upgrade Your Brain: Reading isn’t just for bookworms; it’s brain fuel. The more you read, the more ripped your brain gets. And you’ll get little nuggets of knowledge—like “Did you know etymology is the study of word origins and entomology is the study of insects??” You ask, “who cares?” WHO CARES?? Everybody who doesn’t want their brain to shrivel up along with their social abilities, that’s who!

4. 🎭 Feel All the Feels: Books are emotional theme parks. You laugh, you cry, you fist-pump. It’s like riding the most thrilling rollercoaster, but with words. You’ll connect with people—like, “Whoa, I’ve been there!” And when you finish a book, it’ll be like winning gold at the Olympics.

5. 🌈 Life Hacks and Wisdom: Books drop life hacks like gold coins. Want to adult like a pro? Read about budgeting, car-buying, and adulting 101. It’s like having a mentor whisper, “Hey, invest in index funds” or “Don’t microwave metal.” Trust me, these gems save lives (and microwave explosions).

And trust me on this, too: reading is NOT a grind. It can be like training hard at the gym and then scaring off that dude who’s trying to hit on your girl.

Plus, you never know—you just might stumble across a hidden Easter egg that changes everything.

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