Sunday, June 17, 2012

Curl up with a good book

Reading is one of the most relaxing things you can do, as beautifully illustrated by Bascove in his painting titled "reading in bed".

According to a recent scientific study, reading can reduce your stress levels by 68 % - more than any other activity.  This is partially because when you read you transport yourself to another world, leaving this world and all the stress you have here far behind.  In just a short 6 minutes of reading, stress levels have been shown to decrease dramatically.

As long as what you choose to read doesn't lead to more stress - like the company report of that stock you purchased that isn't doing so well - then reading is one of the best "Simple Pleasures" you can indulge in.  

There is nothing cozier than reading in front of the fire tucked under a blanket on a cold winter's day.  Escaping to another world is a great way to ignore those raging winds and mountains of snow piling up outside your window.  In fact it's a great way to escape anything in your world that is causing you stress.

I think some people seem to know that automatically, even from childhood.  I know I did.  I was like this little girl, constantly surrounded by books.

In this day and age however, reading is no longer simple.  Our modern technology has created many more options than paper books ever did.  Some think this might not be such a good thing. This question is debated in this article, Is reading online really reading? .  Many parents are worried that their children prefer their computers to books, but others see this as just a different kind of reading.

Certainly technology has given us more options now.  All those books that little girl had surrounding her in the woods in the photo above will all now fit easily into a reading tablet which you can take with you in your purse or pocket. Whereas just a few years ago this was an expensive indulgence, now it's an affordable option for many.  You can buy a Kindle at for under $100.  And since you download the books you buy, you don't have to have an online connection to read them once you've downloaded them, which makes it an even more attractive alternative.
Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers

But regardless of how you do it, reading is still a pleasure you can indulge in frequently with only positive results.  A great way to unwind after a stressful day is to read in bed for that last hour or so before sleeping.

Many couples have a ritual of reading together, often sharing what they read with one another.  Whether you enjoy discussing books with your partner or prefer to read in companionable silence, this is a great way to spend time with someone you care about.

And for many really busy folk, Sunday morning spent quietly with coffee and the paper is a treat they look forward to all week.  On any given weekend morning, city coffee shops and sidewalk cafes are filled with people doing just that.

Of course you don't need a sidewalk cafe to enjoy reading on the weekend.  A sunny (or shady) back porch will do just as well.

And then, some places are more ideal for reading than others.  A beautiful quiet warm sandy beach can be heaven ....

.......whereas other places - like reading on a subway - have at least escapism going for them.

That is until fiction seems to turn to reality, like in this instance when Darth Vader and the storm troopers invaded the New York subway.

But regardless of how, what, and where you choose to read, just taking that time for yourself can make a big difference in your day.

Check out other Simple Pleasures here .

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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