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  • Writer's pictureMarilyn Halpern

The Mindful Path — Turn the Page to a New Year | Jan. 3, 2024

“Reading is so much a part of our everyday lives that we take it for granted – text messages, the banners that run across our televisions, the ads that pop up. And yet, reading can be a crucial opportunity for mindfulness — the ability to be in the present moment, aware while withholding judgment, both inside and outside of yourself. This winter, take a break from passive reading, skimming, reading-as-multitasking, and try mindful reading.” — Marcella Frydman Manoharan


Reading for pleasure in a mindful way can be the gateway to a more joyful new year. On average, Americans spend just 15 minutes reading each day. The polls are mixed on exactly how much Americans are reading but the overall consensus is we are reading less for pleasure than in the past. Many are consumed by “screen reading” as electronic devices drive our attention and devour our time.


The National Literacy Trust confirms that reading is helpful in all the ways we might guess: reading improves grammar, comprehension and writing. Yet, the study also reports it improves insight into making decisions. The research further cites that reading fiction increases creativity, empathy, and emotional intelligence. Reading boosts cognition, which can help memory, word retrieval, and overall self-improvement.


Ready to curl up with a great book? Here are a few tips for encouraging or supporting

your resolution to make reading part of your healthier, happier new year:


Start Small. Try a collection of short stories or poetry to get started.

Give graphic novels a try.

Visit your local library.

Try Audiobooks. Check out the public library’s Libby or Hoopla platforms for

audiobooks. Librarians can help get your phone set up for this incredible

resource.

Be patient. It might take reviewing several books before you find one that piques

your interest.

Set aside time for reading. Whether it’s 20 minutes with your morning tea or

coffee, at lunch or at bedtime, try to carve out a consistent time to read each day

or several times a week.

Keep a reading journal, tracking the books you love and why you found them

meaningful.

Join a book club. Get the best of both worlds, receive the benefits of reading and

increase your social circle.


Joseph Addison reminds us, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” May your new year bring many adventures and insights between the pages.

Photo credit: Roland Halpern

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