My least favorite but most frequent place to read is on my bed. It’s the quietest, most comfortable spot. I’d much rather read in the quiet car on the train going to or from work. All that ambient noise, the residential vistas flashing by. It’s relaxing. It helps me focus.
But my bed is too relaxing and too comfortable. I get anxious about the things I always get anxious about. I think about personal crap. I cannot at all focus on what I’m reading. A lot goes into how we focus on what we read. I thought it would be helpful to give you a few tips on how I stay focussed on my book.
1. Listen to some ambient or white noise.
Image Via ABC
When you think of the 100% ideal spot to read, it’s probably a library or at least library-esque. Maybe a quiet bookshop. Maybe a quiet beach. But it’s quiet.
Well, I’m here to tell you quiet is overrated. A little quiet is a good thing, but you can’t have too much of a good thing. If it’s too quiet when you sit down to read, the author’s words will quickly get drowned out by your own. You can’t really focus when it’s too quiet. People can’t stand to be in the quietest room in the world for more than thirty minutes, in fact. Too quiet!
So put some ambient or white noise on. Spotify has plenty. Just listen to the light pitter-patter of raindrops on fake windows or thunder brewing in imaginary clouds. It makes sinking into a fake world so much easier. Some people like listening to music, too. I don’t understand that.
2. Sit up straight!
Cool chair, bro. | Image Via Foter
Part of the bed problem, but lying down is extremely problematic. When I’m lying down, I cannot think of anything but falling asleep. As soon as my back touches a surface, my brain says, ‘Night.’
The best way to get around this is to find a seat or a chair or a stool. Some kind of piece of furniture that will allow you to sit up straight rather than lie down. By sitting straight up, you eliminate the desire to fall asleep. Thus disallowing thoughts of precious sleep, you allow thoughts of authors to enter your mind.
3. Eat before you read.
Second result for “delicious food” on Google image. | Image Via Medical News Today
This one explains itself, but allow me to talk about food.
We need food to survive. Always have, always will. When we go long enough without food, our stomach begins to make noise. Throughout the ages, these noises have been referred to as “grumbling” or “churning” or “sounding off.” It’s not only annoying when your stomach talks to you. It’s also aching. Because of this feeling, some people get angry as well as hungry. This phenomenon is known as hangry.
Nothing’s worse than reading a book hangry. Fill your face beforehand, kid.
4. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Image Via Lawrence Park Health and Wellness
When the bad thoughts come (they always come), be prepared to bat them off by any means necessary. Some people go for a run, some paint, some stare into the internet. These are all difficult to do when you’re trying to read.
One way to rid yourself of the bad thoughts is to inhale deep, deep, deep through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. I’m not sure why this works or if it has a basis in science, but it feels like drinking some really strong herbal tea. Since you’re already breathing when you read, this one shouldn’t be tough to pull off.
5. Turn your phone off!
Image Via Wired
Remember that comment you made on Instagram? Of course you do. Don’t you want to know if anybody’s responded? You know you want to. Come on, book reader. Pick me up. This is your phone talking. Look into my screen. Soak up my light. Let me enter your brain.
Turn your phone off! Even if you have it next to you, you’ll still be anticipating a notification from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, Gmail, AOL Instant Messenger, whatever it is. It has a psychic connection to you. Put that stress to bed when you’ve got a book.
What this all comes down to is reducing any kind of physical or mental distraction. Put as little space between you and the book as possible. Try to let real world go. Only once you’ve let go, book lover, will you be free to read.
Feature Photo by Jacalyn Beales Via Unsplash