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The Power of Mindful Reading: Read Your Way to Peace

The Power of Mindful Reading: Read Your Way to Peace

If you’re anything like me, you love books. You collect them voraciously, so excited to dive in while curled up on the couch with a hot cup of tea. But then something happens, something called life. Life demands all your energy, and suddenly, by the end of the day you find that the only strength you have left is to giggle at familiar episodes of The Office. Then by the end of the year, you have only finished one of the 10 books you set out to read. That’s where the power of mindful reading comes in.

Why read mindfully?

Even though binging TV sounds relaxing, it really doesn’t give you much energy in return over time. The power of a good book is that it can both feed and restore your mind with inspiration and wonder. Books hold pathways to so many different worlds. There are endless possibilities for whatever door you’d like to open. There is something that happens when I finally do buckle down and immerse myself in a good book. Somehow, it sweeps me off my feet while also bringing my awareness into the present moment. To experience the power of mindful reading, you must show up fully to the page in front of you, and in return you may experience great peace.

Mindfulness describes the practice of compassionate, gentle, moment-to-moment awareness of our bodies, environments, feelings, and thoughts. This can be practiced in many different ways. It is used in meditation traditionally, but can also be practiced when walking, cleaning, and going about any daily task. Really anything can be improved by doing it mindfully. When combining reading and mindfulness, you create the possibility of experiencing great peace. The words take you on a journey that you can be fully present for.

Image is of a person sitting on a yellow gingham blanket at the beach, with two books, sunglasses, and a hat next to them, practicing the power of mindful reading at the beach.
Photo by Book Language

Here‘s how to experience the power of mindful reading:

To start, choose a book that excites you and interests you. If you do most of your reading on a tablet, I challenge you to read the physical copy of something for this exercise to experience the sensations of your book more potently.

If you can, create an inviting environment for your reading time. Find the spot within your surroundings that you would want to spend the most time in. Maybe it’s a lounge chair on the porch, your favorite spot on the couch, in your favorite park on a comfortable blanket, or cozied up in bed under warm blankets. But anywhere is perfect, even if it’s in a busy airport or bus station.

Before you begin with your chosen book, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

Set the intention to read with mindfulness. With each word you read, tune your awareness into the present moment. What bodily sensations arise as you read? What thoughts and feelings? Notice the feel of the book in your hands, the look of the pages, the strangely delightful smell of the book. Allow everything to exist without getting carried away by it. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the page without judgement.

Notice how this experience differs from reading mindlessly. Do you retain more of the information? Do you get more or less bored, sleepy, or restless this way? The best part about practicing mindfulness is that all discoveries are to be received with compassion and no judgement.

Need some book suggestions for your mindful reading practice? We’ve got you! For books that inspire relaxation and stress relief, check these out. For books that inspire self-discovery and growth, these are great ones!

Let us know how the power of mindful reading has impacted you! Share with us @Maidenfolk on Instagram and let us know, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter below!

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