Getting lost in a book may be just what the doctor ordered

Getting lost in a book may be just what the doctor ordered

Have you ever been so engrossed in a book that you no longer notice the passing of time? You’re engaging in a mindfulness practice, known as mindful reading, that has proven benefits.

“Mindfulness is a psychological and physical presence which embraces one’s thoughts and behaviors,” explains Shina Gordon, a behavioral health nurse practitioner with Advocate Health Care. “It encourages acknowledgement, enhances understanding and provokes mental clarity. Anyone could see improvement of their mental and physical health through mindfulness.”

According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness has many research-backed benefits, including:

  • Boosts memory
  • Increases focus
  • Improves relationship satisfaction
  • Lessens emotional reactivity
  • Reduces stress

Some may be familiar with mindful practices, such as mindful breathing or mindful eating. These practices place additional emphasis on the act itself, instead of breezing through it without a thought. Mindful reading is similar.

“Reading can be done mindfully by making it intentional,” Gordon says. “It differs from typical reading due to the reader’s objective, focus, understanding, appreciation and the outcomes achieved.”

 Gordon says reading mindfully has the following benefits: 
  • Promotes soothing feelings
  • Cultivates presence
  • Improves comprehension
  • Strengthens awareness

“You can incorporate mindful reading into your daily routine by consciously setting aside time to be immersed in reading,” Gordon suggests.

She also acknowledges that busy schedules can make mindful reading challenging.

Try these tips to incorporate mindful reading into your life:
  • Choose a book you enjoy
  • Set aside 5 to 10 minutes to read a few pages in the morning or evening
  • Notice the physical qualities of your book, such as its weight in your hands or the texture of the page
  • Light a candle or play gentle music to engage your other senses

Families can also enjoy reading mindfully together, by either reading out loud to each other or individually reading their own books in a quiet room.

Looking for a behavioral health provider? Find care where you live here: Wisconsin | Illinois

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Sammy Kalski