With the new year nearly upon us, many people are determined to put a stop to their bad habits. While there is a lot that goes into achieving this goal – and everyone’s path to self-betterment is unique – those with bad habits to conquer should consider the value of reading and writing as a means of helping themselves complete the journey. In fact, reading and writing can serve as effective replacements for the bad habits we otherwise find the time and desire to do.
Consider the following examples of common bad habits and how replacing them with reading and writing can help rid them from our lives:
Drug and alcohol abuse is one of the hardest things for a person to quit. A popular way to smoothen the road to recovery is to read books. There’s a reason why centers for prescription drug rehab in California and elsewhere almost always have a small library for residents to access during recovery. Reading not only acts as a distraction from many of the symptoms of withdrawal, but it also helps people experience the world through the eyes of others. Being absorbed by the challenges faced by others, whether the product of fantasy or a testament of true events, puts our own struggles in perspective and provides inspiration for overcoming them.
Many people who struggle with overeating tend to eat as a response to emotional distress or discomfort. Whether it’s boredom, sadness, or anxiety, they look to food as a coping mechanism and subsequently eat more than they should. Those in this situation should consider reading as a substitute for eating. When the urge to pick up a snack strikes, pick up a book instead. Writing can serve this purpose as well. While it might be difficult to form the habit at first, once you’ve successfully opted to read or write instead of eating, you’ll be on the path to putting your problems with food behind you.
Too much screen time
Most of us don’t realize how much time we’re spending on our phones and sitting in front of the television. While the question of whether or not screen addiction is a real disorder remains unanswered, the truth is we could all probably benefit from less time spent scrolling, tapping, and changing channels. With this in mind, reading and writing can be effective substitutes. Even if it means using an e-reader and technically using a screen, reading a substantial amount of material about one particular subject is much better for our minds than reading tidbits of information via social media. The same can be said for writing something lengthy for ourselves rather than sending and receiving text messages.
Many men and women – and increasingly children as well – find themselves worrying about things all the time. This amount of anxiety is bad for the body and the mind. Over time it can lead to difficulties with managing social interactions and contribute to diminished happiness. One way to combat the habit of excessive worrying is to write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal on a daily basis. Providing yourself an output for the negative feelings and concerns you have can help you come to terms with them. While it won’t remove the source of worry, accepting the fact that bad things happen and that it’s not helpful to obsessively fret about them is precisely the point.
Just about everybody has a bad habit or two they should put a stop to if possible. The route to freeing ourselves of our bad habits varies from person to person, but reading and writing more than we do can certainly help just about everyone. Doing so gives us new perspectives and an outlet for our struggles. Reading and writing can also keep us busy at times when we would otherwise be falling back on our bad habits. Simply put, no harm can come from reading and writing more, so give it shot and see if it can’t help you become a better person.