“Morning without you is a dwindled dawn” – Emily Dickinson
Finding time to read a little everyday in our busy months is like a little luxury. So why don’t why we take this time and treat it as such? When we try to squeeze in time to read it becomes a daunting process; an assigned and expected prescription forced in to our daily routine to better ourselves. But this creates a sudden self-tension and all of a sudden reading has become that which we hate the most; a daily chore that blends in or is faded into the background as a less important task for today.
But why is this? Reading can be pure joy, the mental equivalent of a spa-break for your head. So why do we continue to treat this important and necessary activity as of little importance than our daily workouts or even our beauty routines?
Some may argue that there isn’t simply enough time in the day, but this is merely an excuse. Instead of that glass of wine in front of the telly after a day of work, turn to one of your oldest, battered and forgotten novels and treat that as a time to unwind instead.
So here is a challenge for you ‘putter-offer’ readers; take half an hour everyday to just read. It could be a paper on the commute on the tube; a news article on your phone in your lunch break at the office; or even a quick short story in a magazine between school-runs, washing clothes and shopping trips because the benefits of reading (particularly in the morning) are endless.
Not only will reading more frequently keep your brain sharp, but frequent reading can be treated as equally beneficial brain exercises as puzzles, lowering mental decline that comes with age by 32% (Neurology). Frequent readers are also 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimers than those who engage more frequently in less stimulating activities, keeping your mind young and well-functioning as you begin to hit retirement (PNAS).
Reading in the morning is like a workout for your brain as much as exercise is for your body; it will wake you up, relieve your stress and stimulate early mental activity. Do whatever works for you; get up at 4am just to read for an extra half an hour before your daily ‘get ready’ routine, relax in your garden with a mug of tea and the chapter of a big book before you even begin to think of tidying your house. It will be difficult at first, but much like the other elements of your day, it will soon become an absorbed and truly healthy habit that can benefit your mental well-being throughout your life.
So, happy reading,
Neurology. “Life-span cognitive activity, neuropathologic burden, and cognitive aging.”
PNAS. “Patients with Alzheimer’s disease have reduced activities in midlife compared with healthy control-group members.” https://www.pnas.org/content/98/6/3440.full