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Reading: Exercising the Mind

My wife and I were talking the other day about homework.  When I was in high school, I rarely took school work home.  I found a way to get most everything done at school.  She said that she always had homework.  My lack of homework may have been due to the necessity of getting it done quickly because sports took up many afternoons and evenings.  Rarely did I enjoy the school work.  I enjoyed the benefits and rewards of having completed all of the assignments.  Most of all, my playing sports never was in question when it came to midterms and quarter grades.  I had teammates who weren't sure if their grades were going to be good enough to meet the sports requirements each quarter. There were many benefits of having high grades: respect from teachers, scholarships, sports privileges and others but few outweigh the benefit that it had inwardly.  I was unaware of it then but studying was beneficial for the mental health which affects the physical health.

This is another follow up to my Original Goals List for 2015.  The first goal was to GIVE MORE and the second is to READ MORE.  More specifically, read one book each month of 2015.  Admittedly, I am struggling and falling behind on this one.  Finding time to read is difficult.

That is my excuse.

I find time if I want to go to the movies.  I find time if one of my favorite TV shows are one.  I find time to do many different things; those things are more fun than reading.

I never was a huge fan of reading.  Playing the Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Sega Dreamcast or Playstation [original] was always more fun than reading.  Gameboy always suited me better on car rides than a book.  Riding my bike was much more of an adventure than sitting in my room with a book.  You would find me outside, playing video games, at a friends house or watching TV but never reading a book.  For whatever reason, I don't have many memories of reading a book because I wanted to.  Black Beauty was a book I remember reading as a child.  Goosebumps at school.  The 'Choose your Own Adventure' books were fun but always read at school during reading class.  

Now that I am older, I still struggle with just sitting down and reading a book.  Magazines are easy to read due to shorter articles.  It isn't that I don't read books as I have a need to stay current, relevant, be inspired and so forth in my profession.  I have to study and become more knowledgeable like any other who wants to be solid in their career.  I've taken a bit of that approach in order to complete my list.  Some of the books on my list will aid me with my job and some will be for 'pleasure'.  

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body" - Joseph Addison

In order to do fulfill my goal of reading one book each month I had to be prepared.  I needed to have a list of books to read for each month.  I took to social media for that.  I asked my friends if they could suggest some books for me to read throughout this year.  Here is the list that we, they, configured.

1.  Jesus + Nothing = Everything [[[January]]] -- page 141 of 209
2.  Sustainable Youth Ministry [[[February]]] -- page 51 of 204
3.  Unbroken [[[March]]] -- page 1 of 528
4.  Churchless [[[April]]] -- page 38 of 191
5.  The Explicit Gospel [[[May]]] -- page 150 of 224
6.  Circle Maker [[[June]]]
7.  Think Orange [[[July]]]
8.  Lead Small [[[August]]]
9.  Killer Angels [[[September]]]
10.  Sticky Faith [[[October]]]
11.  Love Does [[[November]]]
12.  The Tipping Point [[[December]]]


The Hobbit
The Two Towers
Multiply - Francis Chan
They Smell Like Sheep
Developing the Leader Within You
Becoming a Person of Influence
Growing True Disciples

As you can tell, I have some work to do.  If I look at it statistically as we look at almost everything else in our lives, I am only 16% towards my goal.  That means that I have only read 16% of the pages out of 5 books for January through May.  

That's not good!  

To find results is what I'm doing here.  Academically, a 16% would require a big fat F on my report card. With any review, you find where you are going wrong and fix it.  I find that I have not put the time and energy necessary into this particular goal. 

These are some benefits, from my own brainstorming session, that I believe reading does for a person.  

stimulates the brain - requires discipline - challenges self - makes hard things easier - ignites creativity - promotes imagination - inspires - educates

These are scientifically proven benefits, collected from here, which are from daily habits of reading. 

enhances the sense - enables life long learning - allows for better skill retention - improves creativity - better verbal abilities - increases one's store of knowledge - higher test scores - reduces stress levels - improves critical thinking - staves off dementia - dementia settles in at a slower rate - better reasoning - confidence builder - more white matter - increases brain flexibility - improved memory - builds relationship between parents and children - better listening skills - an easier time concentrating - alleviates mental health disorders

After reading that list, why wouldn't we all read daily?   

I know that it is motivating for me to see that a little bit of reading, even the smallest bit daily, is positive for my health.  That's what this is all about right?  Mental and Physical Health all play together.  What good would it be to have one and not the other?  We have the opportunity to help both forms of health by taking simple steps in the right direction.  

I challenge you to  be intentional in both your physical and mental health.


1 comment:

Christina @ Love Yourself Healthy said...

I love reading, but I always feel like I don't do enough of it. I like the idea of making a list! I usually just wing it when I'm in a book-buying mood.

I love reading purely for entertainment; one of my favorite weekend activities is to go to Starbucks during nap time (when my husband can be home with the kids) and read for a couple of hours. I have a Kindle, and I've discovered a lot of free/cheap books on Amazon this way, and I'm also in the midst of a free trial of Kindle Unlimited. That being said, although I think I read a book every other day for the last 2 weeks, I have gone months without reading anything.

I'm currently reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.