So we’re almost through the second month of this new year…how are you doing with your resolutions? If you’re like me, you’re all about trying to stay on top of life while improving yourself at the same time. For me, trying to read more books has been a good resolution but it can be really difficult if you’re a librarian. I remember when I was a bartender, and the last thing I wanted to do was drink.
“Hey Justin, let’s all go grab a beer!”
“DON’T MAKE ME TAKE MY WORK HOME WITH ME!”
I think librarians can sometimes feel the same way. Check books in, check books out, look up books, shelve books…when you get home, even thinking about a book might be the last thing you want to do. Still, I press on and try to grab myself another book. Maybe it’s just the winter weather. Do the winter blues have you down, too?
Author and philosopher Alain de Botton might have something that can help: bibliotherapy! According to Big Think’s Jason Gots, de Botton’s “program matches individuals struggling in any aspect of their lives with a list of books hand-selected to help them through tough times…You get your reading list after an initial consultation with a bibliotherapist in which you discuss your life, your reading history, and your problems.” Buzzfeed’s 28 reasons to stay inside with a book will warm you as well!
While books should in no way be a substitute for therapy or doctor-prescribed medication, reading was shown to have similar anxiety-reduction benefits to enjoy a cup of tea or going for a relaxing walk, diminishing subjects’ levels of anxiety up to 68 percent. As the Guardian’s Wayne Gooderham notes in an essay about how Saul Bellow’s Herzog helped him fight depression, it’s because great books “[demand] your full attention and focuses your mind so that you are forced to concentrate completely on the novel.” Reading can help us not only leave our own problems and lives for a moment, but also gain new perspective on them. Saul Bellow just might save your life!
Some other good reasons to read:
Reading makes you a better lover
Researchers at Harvard Medical School conducted a relationship study of 156 couples who had been together around three and a half years (on average). The greatest predictors of lasting relationships? Not how much sex you have. Not how often you argue about money, either. Couples who were the happiest were those who were most supportive and empathetic of each other. Open access magazine PLOS One published a journal that reported, “experiments showed that empathy was influenced over a period of one week for people who read a fictional story, but only when they were emotionally transported into the story.”
Don’t have a lover? Don’t worry, Marie Claire says intelligence is one of the top things we look for in a mate. It’s also reported that smart men to read are more virile. Why do you think Hot Guys Reading Books is so popular. BECAUSE SCIENCE!
Reading will make you sharper
In a recent neurology study, their findings read:
“294 participants who died at an average age of 89, found that those who engaged in mentally stimulating activities (such as reading) earlier and later on in life experienced slower memory decline compared to those who didn’t. In particular, people who exercised their minds later in life had a 32 percent lower rate of mental decline compared to their peers with average mental activity.”
It helps fight Alzheimer’s, too!
Reading will help you sleep
Many sleep researchers recommend having a bedtime routine to get you ready for sleep – which includes reading. BUT WAIT! Make sure it’s an old-fashioned book, as tablets and e-readers can actually hinder your sleep.
What books are you currently reading? Comment below if you’re reading one now or want to recommend one! That’s all I have this Friday. Have a great weekend!
Justin Brasher, Brash Librarian