When in doubt, pick up a book. That's always been the best advice I've ever received because, well, it's true. Books can solve just about any problem life throws in your direction. If your parents used to read to you at bedtime, then you probably remember the comfort books brought you as you drifted off to sleep. And if you were like me and turned to books any time middle school was the worst (which was literally always), then you know just how impactful books can be when it comes to curing loneliness and heartache.
According to multiple scientific studies, there are plenty of reasons to always read a book. Reading can solve some of the most basic problems to some of the most difficult. As an avid reader myself, I can't think back to a time where a book hasn't helped me in some way.
If you've been facing some tricky life problems, and no matter how much great advice you've received from friends or family doesn't seem to help, pick up a book. You can find just about any book that will help you feel better when you're sick, cure your broken heart, or inspire you. Here are 10 life problems that can, and always will be, helped by books.
1. Books Can Help Heal A Broken Heart
If you've ever suffered from a broken heart, or multiple, then you know how painful and lonely it is. Reading stories that also deal with breakups can be a big help. It shows you that the pain you're feeling is natural and relatable. It also shows you that you aren't alone in feeling this way. Books tend to motivate, too, because if you can see a character that you love get through something equally or even more painful than what you're experiencing, it can encourage you to move on as well.
2. Books Will Help You Make A Major Life Decision
Can't decide if you should make the big move to a new city? Which college you should attend? Moving in with a significant other? Sure, reading instead of facing your problems head on might make it look like you're ignoring the issue, but it's quite the opposite. Allowing yourself to escape to another world and see how characters make big decisions might help you make yours as well.
3. Books Offer Valuable Life Advice
Authors like Judy Blume, J.K. Rowling, and Roxanne Gay have given us some of the best life advice. Whether it's through fictional characters or real life experiences, books are the place to turn to whenever you need some life-changing advice.
4. Books Inspire When You Lack Motivation Or Creativity
I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic. This book, along with a couple others I've read, was one of the most motivational books I've ever read. It makes you pause Netflix and focus on your art instead, whatever that may be. So if you're struggling with your creativity, I urge you to first pick up Gilbert's book, but to also look into more books that will inspire you to stop waiting around and do what you love.
5. Books Make You Feel Less Stressed Out
A study done by the University of Sussex found that reading, even for just a few minutes a day, can reduce stress levels up to 68 percent. That's pretty insane. But whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed with work, life, or just everyday anxieties, reading always helps me take a step back, breathe, and overall, makes me feel less stressed. So the next time you're not sure where to turn in times of stress, sit back and enjoy a couple chapters. It might make you realize that whatever stressful situation you're dealing with is not as bad as you thought.
6. Books Can Help You Fall Asleep, Or Even Wake Up
You're probably aware that books can help you fall asleep, but not for the reasons you think. Creating a bed time ritual, like reading, can signal to your body that it's time for bed. If you suffer from not being able to wake up in the morning, then swap the reading ritual for waking up instead. If you force yourself to wake up, read, and process what's going on in a book, it'll help your mind and body wake up, too.
7. Books Make You Feel Less Alone
Loneliness is tricky to deal with, because even if you have friends or family who are there for you, you can still feel lonely. After moving far away from home, I experienced loneliness on a daily basis, even as I made new friends. There will always be days and nights that you'll have to spend alone, and if it's become unbearable, books can be the best cure. Not only do they allow you to dive into an exciting new world full of interesting characters, but it makes you feel as though you're a part of something big, and that can be all it takes to cure a lonely day.
8. Books Can Make You A Better Friend
Reading fiction will make you more empathetic and improves the way you think about others. Books help you understand what someone else might be going through and how there are always different circumstances to consider. Granted, you're probably already a really awesome friend, but if you've run into the problem of being surrounded by not such great friends, turn to the people who read.
9. Books Improve Your Memory And Intelligence
Just like a good thirty minutes on the treadmill will improve your heart and body, reading improves your memory and overall intelligence. Reading adds new words to your daily vocabulary and introduces new topics, ideas, and facts that you didn't know yet. The more words you know and the shaper mind you have will lead to a much more fulfilling life.
10. Books Make You Happier
With better sleep, memory, relationships, how could you not be happier? Books increase happiness levels for multiple reasons, but most importantly, if you love reading and the more you read, the happier you'll be. It's as easy as that. So whenever in doubt, head to the library or bookstore. Any problem that life throws your way can almost always be aided by a good old-fashioned book.
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