26 Practical Steps to a Healthier You: Read At Least One Book Per Month {Week 2}

For the next 26 weeks I will be sharing a different way you can become healthier in your daily life. Some of these suggestions have to do with food or exercise, others have to do with lifestyle changes, but all of them are practical and relatively easy to execute. You may already be practicing some of these habits, but hopefully you’ll be inspired by at least one or two new ideas you can begin to implement.

READ AT LEAST ONE BOOK PER MONTH

I LOVE to read. It’s relaxing and satisfies my appetite to learn. I think I read now more than I did when I was studying in high school and college combined! I’ve read over 200 books in the last 3 years. One of my professors encouraged his students to be “lifelong learners.” One thing I’ve embraced in order to fulfill that goal is to read.

READING SLOWS MEMORY LOSS

Have you ever heard the phrase, “reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”? It’s true! If you don’t work out your muscles regularly, they eventually atrophy. The same thing happens with our minds overtime if we cease stimulating them through regular reading. Keeping your brain actively engaged in reading can actually slow the process of Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease! Did you know that every new memory you make forms new brain pathways, strengthening those that already exist and improving your short-term memory recall? So every time you read a book and learn something new, you’re protecting yourself from memory loss.

christian booksREADING IMPROVES MOOD

In 2008 a study was done in England to research the benefits of reading in every day life. Researchers found that 63% of the participants reported feeling more relaxed while reading a favorite book or magazine. Have you ever lost yourself in a good book? A good book can cause you to forget all about your worries, your difficult day, or anything else that is making you stressed. It can significantly improve your mood on any given day.

readingREADING IMPROVES FOCUS & CONCENTRATION

With all of our technological gadgets, our attention is pulled in all different directions at any given moment. Many of us juggle watching t.v., checking Facebook, and responding to text messages, all while at the same time trying to carry on a conversation with our spouse. Is it any wonder we have difficulty focusing on one single task for more than 10 minutes at a time (or less)? Getting in the habit of reading for 20 minutes a day can greatly improve your ability to concentrate for longer periods of time. You will probably find that it even helps you to be more productive on any given day.

nonfiction

20 BOOKS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE

The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges

godlinessAfter reading this book I was motivated to purchase a couple more of Jerry Bridges’ books. It’s a practical read that addresses the paradox of allowing God to work in you and change you while at the same time, putting into practice such virtues as faith, goodness, patience, etc. As a result of reading this book I made a Bible study on various Christian virtues that I wanted to be intentional about practicing in my everyday life.

Desiring God by John Piper

desiringgodDon’t let the size of this book intimidate you. It’s so eye-opening, so filled with timeless Truth that I couldn’t put it down! I read this 369 page volume in a mere 2 weeks!

Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray

abideThis book was as challenging as it was informative. Murray goes into depth about what it means to truly abide in Christ and leaves the reader with a desire to do that very thing.

Answers to Prayer by George Mueller

answersIf you want to be challenged in your faith or if you struggle with doubt as to whether God answers prayer, this book is for you! George Mueller recounts true stories from his own life of how God provided for not only his needs, but the needs of thousands of orphans in his orphanages. You will see the faithfulness of God and the simplicity of Mueller’s faith. You need to read this book!

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala

Fresh_wind_fresh_fire_cover1This is a book that will bring you to tears and leave you praising God. I highly recommend it (as I do the rest of the books listed). Jim Cymbala gives testament to the power of prayer and what can happen when the Holy Spirit moves.

Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper

wastelifeMy pastor (also my father-in-law) was so impressed with this book that he bought a copy for every family in our congregation. Interestingly, around the same time he did this I had a hankering to read this very book! It did not disappoint.

How to Pray by R. A. Torrey

How_to_Pray_book_coverI first borrowed this book from my sister and I liked it so much I ordered myself a copy. It’s practical, informative, and increased my appetite for prayer.

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey

fearfullyandwonderfullyThis book is fascinating. It goes into detail about how God created our bodies intricately and the symbolism behind many of our bodies’ systems. Even if you don’t enjoy science or anatomy, you will find this book intriguing.

Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer

knowledgeThe ladies’ Bible study at my church is currently going through this book. If you want a solid, Biblical view of who God is, you should definitely read this book. However, it’s not a book you can rush through. The first time I read it, I did just that and as a result, gleaned very little from it. A.W. Tozer can sometimes be difficult to understand, but if you take your time it’ll be worth the effort.

The Gift of Pain by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey 

painI can’t get enough of Dr. Paul Brand. For those of you who aren’t familiar, he was a doctor in India for 19 years who did breaking ground  research on leprosy, discovering that the disease attacks the nerves and dulls the patient’s sensation of pain. Without the ability to feel pain, patients hurt themselves without realizing it and thus, causes irrevocable damage to their limbs. This book opens ones eyes to the fact God created pain to protect us and is truly a gift. Such a great read.

A Path Through Suffering by Elisabeth Elliot 

pathsufferingMy favorite author on one of my favorite topics. What’s not to love? She certainly experienced her share of suffering throughout her life, yet remained so steadfast, so faithful to her Lord. I’m grateful for great women of the faith like Elisabeth who have gone before and have left an example for me to follow.

Streams in the Desert, L.B. Cowman

streamsdesertI don’t particularly love devotional books, but this one should be read by every Christian. Many of the entries spoke directly to my circumstances and provided great encouragement. If you are in the midst of a storm, pick up a copy of this great devotional book.

Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets

intercessoryI picked this book up years ago when I was in high school but never finished. I began reading it again this past summer and am thankful I gave it another shot. If you find yourself wondering why prayer is necessary or often lack motivation to spend time in prayer, this book is for you.

Good to Great in God’s Eyes by Chip Ingram

good to great imageI read this entire book aloud to my husband as we traveled to Michigan and back on vacation last year. We both really enjoyed it. Chip Ingram is one of my favorite preachers and though I’ve only read a couple of his books, I hope to read more in the future.

Heart Shift by John Trent

heartshiftThis is the last book I finished this past month. I must admit, it took almost until half-way through for me to really get into it, but once he got into the practical application of making 2-degree changes he had me hooked. By the end I had a list of various small changes I wanted to make to improve various areas of my life.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Total-Money-MakeoverI read this one out loud with my husband. It’s the next best thing to taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. We liked the principles so much that we bought three copies of the book for family members. If you are struggling with debt or are just looking for financial guidance, you should read this.

The Digital Invasion by Dr. Archibald Hart & Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd

digital-invasion-coverThis was a great read, but the consequences laid out about our technological age were frightening. We truly are being invaded by digital media and are naive to the negative consequences. If you have kids, you definitely want to pick up a copy of this one.

The End of Diabetes by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

EndDiabetesI also read Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live book, but found this one to contain fewer inconsequential facts and to have more practical application. Also, Eat to Live was geared more toward individuals wanting to lose weight, while this one focused on diminishing the risk of diabetes by avoiding sugar.

Raising Kids for True Greatness by Tim Kimmel

kidsLike I mentioned above, I don’t yet have children of my own, but I hope to some day. This was a quick read for me because I enjoyed it so much. Kimmel’s points are counter-cultural, but definitely Biblical. It was filled with practical steps you can take to implement his points as well as inspiring stories.

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John Maxwell

everyone_communicatesThis is a beneficial read for anyone and everyone. He makes a compelling argument that connecting takes a lot of effort and hard work, but it’s something that can be learned. Implementing his tips will strengthen any relationship you have.

What books have transformed your life? I’d love to hear from you!

Do you love to read? Have you ever heard of paperbackswap.com? It’s an online booking swapping community where you trade used books in order to receive used books in return.

All you have to do is sign up, list the books that you are ready to part with, and send them out to other members when they are requested. Yes, you pay the postage to send your books out (between 2 and 3 dollars for an average-sized book), but when you request books for yourself, the senders pay the postage to send those books to you.

Every book you send earns Book Credit when it is received – you can use Book Credits to request books for yourself. We’ll even give you startup Book Credits free if you are the first account at your household – you can use those credits to get two books for yourself, totally free! Sign up, today!

If you missed my post a few weeks ago on “10 BOOKS THAT WILL TRANSFORM YOUR MARRIAGE,” read it here. I also recently did a post on “7 BOOKS ON SUFFERING THAT WILL CHALLENGE YOU.” Did you get a chance to read it? If not, go here.

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