Rediscovering the lost arts of reading and writing
Technology moves us forward and pushes the limits of innovation. Yet two of the most basic human skills are often overlooked by today’s younger generations: physically reading and writing. News gets shrunken into headlines, while how-to videos and homework shortcuts have flooded the Internet.
Our efforts focus primarily on instant gratification and correctness instead of trial and error to refine our talents at a young age. That is why taking steps to incorporate more reading and writing into your daily routine is so important.
Reading can boost your mind. Putting ink on paper can help relieve stress and improve your ability to remember what you learn. That being said, here are a few compelling reasons to incorporate reading and writing into your daily life:
- Both reading and writing can decrease stress levels. In fact, reading has been proven to relieve stress better than listening to music or taking a walk. Sticking your nose in a book you want to read will take your mind off your concerns and let your mind wander stress-free, even if it only lasts for a few minutes. Expressive writing, especially in a journal or for yourself in general, can also be beneficial. Writing gives you a creative outlet to write down your feelings and frustrations.
- Reading has positive effects on your mental health. Reading paperbacks as a hobby can help you sleep better by reducing stress and getting your eyes away from a lit screen right before you catch some shut-eye. Quality sleep can have many positive ripple effects throughout your life, including increased self-confidence and quicker brain function. Reading fiction can cause readers to become more empathetic, as well. The stronger your brain is, the easier it will be to fight off mental illnesses (e.g., depression) and age well.
- As does writing. Physically sitting down and writing with your hand can have tremendous results, both emotionally and professionally. When you actually write something down, your hands send signals to your brain and build motor memory. This lets you retain more of the written information than had you skipped writing it down and tried to remember your thoughts or what has been said. Also, expressing your appreciation for different aspects of life will make you a more optimistic person.
The long-term effects of reading and writing are just as important as the immediate results. To devote time to both activities shows dedication to living a full, healthy life. Reading keeps your brain sharp and could even lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Expressive writing not only helps keep your stress levels down; it can lower blood pressure and improve your lung and liver functions, too.
Together, adding a combination of reading and writing to your to-do list will provide you with mental and physical health benefits that can put you in a better mind state and prolong your life. All it takes is a journal and library card.
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