There are plenty of good books, but finding books that capture you in a tight grip, and don’t let you go right until the end are rare. I love it when it happens – starting a story, and then simply being obsessed with it; unable to put it down until it’s finished. And feeling a little sad when it does. Some may call it unhealthy or weird to want that kind of obsession, but the readers I am sure will understand.
It’s about the stories. The stories that transport us to a different world – the world in the pages – in such a powerful way that we are almost deceived we are there. Characters are not merely fiction then, but people we care about. Their lives matter to us. When they laugh, we laugh with them, and when they are hurt, we hurt too.
I love finding books with that kind of power. But because there are no guarantees, and because it’s rare for that to happen, sometimes when I want that kind of heavy-impact book, instead of risking a new book that I may or may not fall in love with, I return to my old favourites.
A part of me – the greedy reader who wants to devour every book out there – is aware that by re-reading books, I am missing out on reading something new. But going back to old favourites is like talking to old friends. Yes, the new friends may be exciting because there is so much to discover, but it’s the old friends who know where we come from, and what we’ve been through. Stories are the same. They stay with us from the first time we discover them, and as we change, the impact of the story changes too.
It dawned on me that any period of reduced reading (there is no such thing as “no reading” period in my life) is also a period of reduced positivity. I’m a pretty optimistic person. I generally prefer to get any wallowing or self-pity out of the way, because I hate being miserable. [Note to the cynics: continuing to feel miserable is a choice – unless you are clinically depressed. It’s an easier choice than making some effort to feel happier, so when I hate being miserable, I do something about it.]
Like everyone else, my life has its problems too. There are times when I am miserable, confused, and have no idea how to move forward. However, what I have noticed that these periods are shorter when I’m reading a lot. It’s no coincidence, and I don’t believe it would apply only to me. Reading consistently – no matter what you like to read – could impact your outlook in life, and make it more positive.
4 Ways Reading Influences Positivity
One thing that books give you is possibilities. Whether you are reading fiction or non-fiction, you can read about people who have done great things, risen above their challenges and found options where none existed.
Values and morality
When you are tempted to take short-cuts (because we are human, and thus fallible) or do something that is not in alignment with your values, books remind you that your heroes, who are as fallible as you, never do so. And if they do, they always regret it. Books give you the courage to remain steadfast, and not sacrifice the essence of who you are for quick gains.
Reading provides inspiration in spades. Read biographies or memoirs of people you admire, and you can learn from them. You can see that they also had the same 24 hours in a day, and usually no more advantages than you. You can see the choices they made, and how they took their destiny in their own hands instead of waiting for the world to deliver their dreams. Reading inspires you to be whoever you want to be and gives you the courage to believe that you can.
When you are in a need of a little dose of positivity, the pleasure of getting lost in a story provides you just that. The reading time offers you a window to escape for a little while. There is nothing wrong with that because when you return, you will come back more hopeful, may be recharged, and if not with a solution, then at least with more determination. Pleasure should not be underrated. Life is to be lived, to be enjoyed, and books can offer us the pleasure of a multitude of lives.
Have you felt the positive impacts of reading? Share in the comments below.