This was a week of rekindling with a high school sweetheart, not with a person, but with books.
In high school I would read maybe three or four new books a week; reading was something I really loved. When I came to college, I lost that. I got busy and distracted and freshman year, I think I read three books, total.
I would find myself more productive, more creative and less stressed when I read that much, so that is why this week, I decided to read five new books.
I decided to put some science in this five day challenge; I wanted to see what the scientific benefits of reading everyday were.
Reading everyday plays into the phrase “use it or lose it,” and reading stimulates many parts of the brain; especially the parts that deal with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease down the road, and reading keeps that part of the brain stimulated.
Reading reduces stress, and can strengthen analytical thinking. Essentially, the more you read, the better your problem-solving skills become. It can help you better recognize plot, character development as well as develop critical thinking skills and better one’s focus.
In a single five-minute span, the average person will divide their time between working on a task, checking email, chatting with a couple of people — via snapchat, skype, etc. — and keeping an eye on twitter, monitoring their smartphone or interacting with other people.
This type of behavior causes stress levels to rise, and lowers one’s ability to be productive. Reading, for even 15 minutes, can improve your focus for the day, read before work, or waiting for the bus instead of checking your phone. Now that I knew the science, it was time to put it to the test.
On day one, I decided to try something I had never really read before, and that was poetry. I read a popular book right now entitled, “Milk and Honey,” by Rupi Kaur.
Since this was my Monday book, and Mondays are pretty busy for me, I found the perfect poetry book. When I could read the poems, they were short and interesting. I used to think that poetry was a little dry, but I found myself crying and laughing out loud at almost every poem.
I loved it so much that I went out and got another poetry book to add to my collection. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I read a two-book mystery series, and something I noticed was that, by Wednesday, I was already feeling more focused.
On Wednesday mornings, I have a history lecture, and sometimes I find it hard to concentrate. However, on Wednesday, I found it easier to focus, and I was more interested.
On Thursday I decided to pick a book I normally would not pick as a leisure read.
I just started my second major in entrepreneurship, so I decided to get a book on economics. I read “Small Is Beautiful” by E.F. Schumacher, and this was probably my favorite book of the week.
On Friday, I decided to read a book from my childhood that I really loved, it was a romance book titled: “The Summer I Turned Pretty” and when I was reading it, I was brought me back to when I was 16 and reading it for the first time.
It was amazing how, even though I had read this book twice before, reading it again made me fall back in love with it, fall back in love with the characters and fall back in love with the story. Additionally, I also discovered new things in the book that I did not initially notice before.
This week was probably my favorite five-day challenge, because I got back in touch with a passion I had lost for a while. On Friday, once it was over, I went to the library and got five new books for this week.
A while ago, I did five days with no social media, and I still have not downloaded those apps, and with the added reading, I realized how much more I could be learning. I mentioned the scientific benefits of reading, but the best benefit was that it is free entertainment wherever you go; and endless possibility for romance, mystery, history and anything you could ever dream of.