The pursuit of happiness is not a fool’s errand, but what makes people happy? Consider the moment when you’re completely lost in the plot of a good book, on the edge of your seat with the action of a great movie, or even elbows-deep in your favourite hobby. There is a point when you’re in the zone. The clock disappears. You are in an ecstatic state of flow. You are happy.
Sometimes you read to learn, sometimes to relax, and sometimes to just escape.
Why Read for Pleasure?
- It increases sense of achievement, confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness.
- It develops relationships and promotes inclusion and empathy through sharing opinions and ideas.
- It prevents boredom and promotes relaxation by having fun and making the imagination fly.
- It widens horizons by improving knowledge and expanding general culture.
- It promotes finding new ways to express ideas and expands vocabulary.
- It can be done anywhere.
How to Make Reading Fun
- Find a place to read with no distractions. Don't multitask; it's a myth anyway. Get comfy.
- Block off 30-60 minutes of time to read; early morning or late evening is best for many people. Two half-hour sessions makes you awesome-er.
- Have pen and paper at the ready. Don't underestimate the value in this step.
- If your brain keeps interrupting you with life's daily demands, jot them down so you can let them go.
- Make notes, capture ideas and inspirations.
- Read one book at a time and try to finish in a week.
- When you're done a book, reflect upon what you have read. Make a note of how you felt, the top 3 ideas, burning questions, a favorite character, etc. Put it in your journal if you keep one. Tweet about it or make a Facebook status. Share your experience.
Some Considerations in Selecting a Book to Read:
- Think about the genre. What kind of stories to you like? Mix it up.
- Do you have a favourite author or one you'd like to read?
- Do you like to read single novels or series?
- Have a hobby? Want one? Read about it.
- Regular or large print? Your eyes may thank you.
- Consider borrowing from your local library instead of buying from a store for single reads.
- Share your book or swap with a friend. Talk about it and compare notes.
- Read aloud to children. Try it. It's rewarding all on its own.
A Footnote on Flow:
Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a positivity psychologist who explored the concept of flow states, motivation and happiness. If you have 20 minutes, his Ted Talk is captivating.
So, go with the flow, be happy and read a book.
Sources and Further Reading:
NOTE: This article also appears at Reader’s Carnival.