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Over the summer with some friends, at Cafe Gratitude in Los Angeles, our waiter posed to us: “When do you feel most peaceful?”, I pondered for a moment, prayed I could come up with a response to avoid looking silly, and said “When I’m reading”, relieved and content with my answer, I went back to looking over the menu. It was true; reading brought me peace. Recently, I have rediscovered the importance of reading in our everyday lives and it’s effect on mental health. I say “rediscovered” because throughout my past semester in college I had begun to phase reading out of my life (unintentionally) due to multiple extensive time commitments. What was once a passion of mine and my main source of relaxation and self-improvement was no longer a part of my daily routine. I told myself that I simply did not have time to read anymore, and, to an extent, it was true. However, we can ALL make time for the things that are most important to us in life; just think about all the time people spend on their phones nowadays upon getting out of bed and before going to sleep.
So, why is reading important?
Research shows that the capacity of the average person’s brain vastly outweighs what they use it for. Reading is feeding your mind, and what you choose to feed your mind with (or not) is an investment in your future self. one book can change your life! Reading can inspire, empower, and enlighten you! Reading has been linked strongly to academic achievement, so, you could say reading makes you smarter. Additionally, studies have shown that reading reduces stress and improves your memory. Your brain, not just your body, needs to be exercised.
Books can provide us with an opportunity to have experiences that we haven’t had the opportunity to experience in the world. The knowledge found in any given book can save you years of experiencing it on your own. Books are a source of knowledge, and knowledge is power! In short, reading provides us many great benefits AND it’s fun!
Call to action:
Pick up a book, read slowly, with openness, and with your ear cocked. Increase your imagination, wit, and heal your emotional pain to achieve perfectly balanced health.
What am I going to do?
I am going to commit to feeding my mind three meals a day. Typically, reading will be the main source. Additionally, I will listen to podcasts, write down three things I am grateful for every night, replace negative thoughts with more empowering ones, and do something new to stimulate my brain each day.
To get started here are some books, with links to purchase on Amazon 🙂 , that…
…Change my life: Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins, The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz, How to Eat Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek, How to Win Friends and Influence People By Dale Carnegie, Plant Paradox by Dr. Gundry, Headstrong by Dave Asprey, Think Better Live Better by Joel Osteen
…I learned something of value or gained a new perspective from: The Millionaire Mind by Dr. Thomas Stanley, Live Beyond Organic by Jordan Rubin, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter, Movement That Matters by Paul Chek, Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow, Communication in Our Lives, Becoming a Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett, Joy on Demand by Chade-Meng Tan, The Power of I Am by Joel Osteen, Unshakable by Tony Robbins, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, The Truth by Neil Strauss, The Game by Neil Strauss, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
I have quite a long list written down of books that I need to read in the future… the point is that there are so many great books out there that can help us to maximize our potential.
No motivation to read?
Create a more empowering metaphor to associate with reading; instead of saying “reading is a pain in the ass” or “a waste of time”, say things like “reading is succeeding” or “learning” or “achieving”. Say it, think it, live it.
Bottom line: we can and need to make time to read, our growth as intellectual human beings depends on it.
P.S. If you need any last-minute gift ideas, give someone a book that you enjoyed. I always say that a book is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone, whether they read it now, in two months, or in two years, it could change their life and it shows you to be a person of good taste and generosity. Many of the books I listed above were actually given to me as gifts by an uncle of mine, and, for that, I am thankful.
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Onward and upward,
Jordan Paris, NASM CPT