Is Reading Better Than Meditation?

Meditation has a number of proven benefits that your hear a lot about. Here are some:

  • Easier manage your stress levels
  • Alleviate symptoms of anxiety
  • Increase of satisfaction in relationships
  • Improve memory and ability to process visual information
  • No trouble falling asleep at night

I have tried Headspace, which is an absolutely amazing app and if meditation is something that you want to try, I encourage you to do that! However, I just recently learned that reading a book and emerging yourself in a story or a time of self reflection with a non-fiction book is like meditation as well!

Here are 7 benefits of reading, which are very similar to mediation yet more beneficial to some people:

  1. The neuroscientist David Lewis from the University of Sussex has found out that reading decreases stress levels after only six minutes of reading. Reading doesn’t involve any effort if it’s practiced regularly, which is the reason for relaxation to set in so quickly. We can read for long stretches of time without getting tired and only rarely need a break from it. Books have been accompanying me on any journey I’ve taken, because they help me relax, help me focus on something other than my day-to-day stress and let me be in the moment.
  2. We only live one life, but through books we are able to gain the wisdom of thousands. So when you spend time reading, you get to spend it in a meditative state with a person’s wisdom, information and insights. Those insights we read about or a story that really touched us on a certain level encourages us to look at life differently and helps us work through any issues that we might be facing, as reading encourages self-reflection. They also allow us to step into a new world and get very close to the story’s protagonists, whom we follow with compassion. This gives us comfort and a purpose during rough times.
  3. Books and reading force a meditative practice. During this time you listen to the thoughts of a person brought to paper, perhaps of a wise and educated person, someone who is a leader in their field of knowledge. The more we read and spend time with books, the more we practice mindfulness and meditation. Reading helps us learn and improve in the areas of patience, calmness and focus, to only name a few benefits. This allows us personally to improve our relationships, as we learn to be more focused, patient and compassionate towards other people.
  4. Reading permanently upgrades your mind. So let this magic happen on a regular basis! This leaves you with a lifetime of benefits. Your mind learns to work faster. May that be moving through a book quicker, allowing you to articulate yourself better as you gain a more diverse treasury of words or you learn to communicate more mindfully. Therefore, it will help you improve your memory and enhance your ability to process information.
  5. Practice the art of sitting quietly in a room alone. Re-learn to spend time with yourself while reading. If we give ourselves the time to read, the room to reflect on what was read and the permission to act and develop upon what was learned, then we’re doing ourselves a huge favor. Reading, though we only sit quietly in one place, changes our perspective on life, let’s us reconsider our values and influences our actions.
  6. Reading is an enjoyable task that the reading researcher Victor Nell from the University of South Africa compares to the activity of playing as kids. Once a person reads for pleasure, they enter a state of flow where they are both relaxed and alert at the same time. In moments like this reading has the same effect as breathing exercises or a short meditation sequence.
  7. Last, but not least, books help you fall asleep at night. eReaders are allowed in the bedroom, so is a regular book. I don’t think there’s any nicer way than falling asleep while reading a really good story!

I’ve already picked the next story I want to get lost in. What about you?

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