How reading can help you live mindfully

Nov 30, 2021 — Regina John
How reading can help you live mindfully

The world now has become incredibly fast-paced, and people forget to take a second to be in the moment. Being fully aware and present, without judgment, is what constitutes mindfulness. We can foster this through meditation, which is a practice that can take many forms, all of which help us to become more mindful.

People meditate to feel a new sense of calm and self, and it can be done as something to start and end the day. Our 'Three Ways to Incorporate Mindfulness in Daily Life' post shows how mindfulness can also be done in mundane everyday activities, such as eating, while staying conscious of what you are consuming. It can also be done during work by finding enjoyment in the processes performed for your job. Another thing you can do is to read more. Reading has a lot of benefits for your cognitive health and can also help you lead a more holistic life. Here are the ways reading can help you live more mindfully:

It can help you understand things that happen to you

There are times when we can’t comprehend the events in our lives. We can become overwhelmed by them, or we may struggle to understand why they happen in the first place. Reading allows you to be silent and reflect.

Many books can help you make better sense of your life, teach you that everything happens for a reason, and show you how to overcome hardships you may encounter. An example of this is a book written by Mark Coleman titled From Suffering to Peace. This book puts a lot of emphasis on coming to terms with pain and suffering and it can help you to learn new things about yourself and find healthy, meaningful ways of coping with your life experiences. As the book title suggests, it can help you turn your suffering into peace.

It can help you develop yourself

Mindfulness comes with a philosophy of becoming more aware, not only of our circumstances but of our faults as people. ‘The Language of Letting Go’ explains that now, in the pandemic, many people have been tempted to return to habits of being codependent. These can become self-destructive at their worst because it turns us into people many have tried to leave behind.

The book highlights how each individual is responsible for their own pain and self-care. This is why it is important for them to live more mindfully, as to not be susceptible to falling into old bad habits. Awareness is an essential part of mindfulness, and reading can help you understand in which areas you may be lacking and how you can address them.

It can help you live more in the moment

A major aspect of mindfulness is being as aware and as grounded in the present as possible. Reading is a great way of doing this because it requires you to focus on the words in order to grasp their meaning. What's more, reading needs you to center your thoughts on the task at hand. Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence highlights how awareness helps people on their journey to becoming mindful.

This doesn't just mean being aware of your surroundings, but it also means being aware of your thoughts. While reading there's a high likelihood of you beginning to think of other things, like your to-do list and unfinished tasks, but that can be a hurdle to truly enjoying the text. Instead, it is better to manage your thoughts and focus. The more you read, the more you'll be able to manage your awareness. Not only does this help in living more mindfully, but it can also help in overall wellbeing.

Reading has many benefits. Teaching you how to live more mindfully is just one of them. Practicing this activity often could be one of the tools that help you achieve your goals of increasing mindfulness in your daily life.

It can help you become more empathetic

As mentioned earlier, awareness is a big part of mindfulness. This also includes being more aware of the people around you and what they are feeling. In a BBC article, Claudia Hammond discusses how those who read fiction books have better social cognition because they are adept at understanding the characters in stories.

Being more empathetic towards your peers and loved ones means you are more likely to be more sensitive to them. It also makes you kinder and more understanding of others' situations. This is why building this skill is important. The journey to living more mindfully is all about being more aware and present, and empathy is a good way of practicing this.

It helps you think better

From a health perspective, reading is beneficial because it can keep your brain function in check. Health writer Rebecca Joy Stanborough explains that this hobby has been proven to help strengthen complex neurological systems. Keeping your mind constantly engaged is a form of mental exercise, lessening the chances for cognitive decline.

Mindfulness relies heavily on your ability to be clearly aware of your mind’s activity, so staying in tip-top shape mentally is important. Reading is a great way to keep your cognitive capabilities in check and make sure that your thinking process is still sharp. Not only does it help in becoming more mindful, but its benefits for your brain health are undeniable. This can be done through reading anything from full-length novels to short pieces you may find interesting.

It can help you gain more knowledge

There are many ways to gain wisdom and understanding of the world around you, and reading is a great way to start. It's more likely you will come across interesting pieces of information as you put more time and effort into reading. The more you read the more you will be able to absorb information from nonfiction and literature, in books and other sources of. This additional knowledge will, in turn, make you better equipped to deal with certain situations you may not have had the wisdom to navigate through if you didn’t read. In the journey towards mindfulness all learning is important because it helps you increase understanding and gain a better grasp on life.

Although lived experience is seen as the best way to learn about the world, reading about a particular topic can be just as informative. For instance, those who can't interact directly with their heroes can find that reading books written about, and even by, their role models are just as educational. Not only will reading help you gain new information, but you could also form new opinions and ideas.

With reading offering us so many benefits, why not make it part of your daily mindfulness practice?

Regina John

Regina John

Regina John is an experienced yoga teacher with over five years of experience. She mainly focuses on holding yoga and meditation classes for the corporate setting, where she believes mindfulness is most needed.

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