Saturday, November 16, 2013

“Why Reading Makes You Happy”

As in many households, there are a few magazines laying about in the WC (sounds better than “toilet” “water closet” “bathroom” – especially as the WC I am talking about is the one on the ground floor and has neither shower nor bath).  Usually these are sadly out of date and quite often a Reader’s Digest or two as they are small enough to be placed in between the wall and the radiator within easy reach of whoever needs something to take one’s mind off the task at hand.
“Why Reading Makes You Happy” was the title of an article in the December 2012 issue – a title that intrigued me to the point that I decided to write a blog on it before reading it: we’ll see later what they say as opposed to, or in addition to, what I say.

I know that reading makes me happy and that a day without a couple of local newspapers, several magazine articles, a chapter in a book in addition to on-line reading is, for me and since I learned to read in 1st grade, a waste.

But I had never thought about why it would make me happy.

1)   It distracts me from whatever else is going on in my life
2)   I can dream of places I haven’t seen, things I haven’t done, periods of time that I was not alive, love (o.k. I admit it – a great consumer of chick lit – most of my book reading)
3)   One can justify the time it takes as partially being informative (news), educational (biographies, reports, etc.), keeping-up-with-the-trivia, etc.
4)   It takes time – hmmm, didn’t get the house sorted, but read a great article on Alexander the Great or the 100 year’s war.
5)   One can put oneself into a scenario that is not ever likely to happen in real life (no examples, remember I like chick lit.
6)   If reading a letter or e-mail from a friend – the warm feeling of connecting with the important people in one’s life
7)   Same with family: the written word is tangible proof  that at some period in time, that person thought enough of you to actually sit down and sign a card, write a note – or better yet – write a whole letter.
8)   I am sure that there are more, but those popped spontaneously into my head.

So what did the Reader’s Digest article give as its main themes?
1)   Empathy (good one, hadn’t thought of that)
2)   Connection
3)   Memories
4)   Inspiration

So agreeing with all those, I think I’ll go finish that book and get happy!