Your Brain on Reading: 5 ways reading benefits the brain

Albert Einstein highlighted the significance of reading by stating, "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales". Reading books, articles, magazines, journals, comics, etc has a deep and profound impact on the way our brain functions, on our mental and physical health as well, of which many of us are not seemingly aware. 

In this article, we shall look into the benefits of reading and how it can improve our lives and many more aspects regarding the same. Let's begin without further ado.


Benefits of Reading


History of Reading at a glance


 Books are repositories of knowledge and wisdom. They help us improve ourselves and our societies. When there were no books, people still used to record significant info on clay tablets, sepulchers, etc. Books came into existence, as reliable sources to pass down essential knowledge to future generations. Gutenberg's Bible, the first published book, threatened the very existence of the established Church during the Renaissance. This testifies that books have made revolution a part of our lives. In the olden days, rulers used to destroy and burn books to ashes when they captured other kingdoms, to hinder their development by curtailing their knowledge.


Years ago, people used to read a lot since it was their major source of knowledge and only form of entertainment. But, in current digital times, very rarely do people read books since most of the time they are distracted by innumerous sources of entertainment.
According to an article that was published in Newsweek in 2004, at one time, people aged 18-34 were the most avid readers. Unfortunately, after 1982, that number dropped by 28% drastically since people started turning to e-modes of communication and entertainment.




Why is it important to read?


 In our daily lives, we are bombarded with mundane thoughts and devitalizing energy, that act as mental barriers from accessing the synchronization of our conscious and subconscious mind. Interruption to this connection is severely damaging the way our body functions. Inevitably our lifestyle is rendering us dull, luring off our indwelt impetus.

Reading can be likened to embarking on an adventurous journey. Books have the potential to enlighten you. They have been the origins of many revolutions, mutinies, and political upheavals. They can open your eyes. They can transform you in a way that you never thought would be possible. And they can be your best friends too. As rightly said by Pat Williams, "Books can take you to places you would never get to otherwise". The solution to your troubles might be lurking on your bookshelf. 


 Reading Improves Imagination and Creativity



We know that reading definitely makes us more knowledgeable, and improves our skills. There's much more to it.
When you read a book focusing on the plot, you feel teleported from reality to another world. You can feel being transcended into the world within the book. Often, we imagine or relate ourselves to one of the characters, the protagonist mostly. George R.R. Martin rightly said, "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one".  
One of the primal benefits of reading is that it improves your imagination and creativity. Not only that it makes you mindful too. It enables you to concentrate better and focus deeper. It makes your attention span much longer. It is one of the best ways to sharpen your focus since it wipes away all sorts of distractions.

This happens because when you read, visual stimulation of reading exercises your occipital lobes, which helps improve imagination, creativity, innovation, and also decision-making skills. Reading is like flexing your creative muscles.





Reading has a profound stress-reducing impact


What do you do when you are usually stressed? How do you calm yourselves?
You must be doing things like sipping tea/ coffee, taking a walk, or listening to music. And the result makes you feel good by helping you alleviate stress.
 Well, the next time you are stressed, try reading a book. According to the Post Repress group, reading has incredible stress-relieving power. It reduces feelings of stress in participants by 68%. Just 30 minutes of reading a week can make you feel much satisfied with your lives.

Cut down on social media and allot that time to reading. It's equitable to channelize your energy in the right direction to be more productive. Alisha Rajpal, a young and aspiring writer said, "With social media, we are comparing ourselves to other people. With books, we are living through other people".


Reading makes you a better person


Reading can actually make you feel good about yourself, others, and society as a whole. If you are someone who reads, no further explanation is required. It makes you think out-of-the-box. It illuminates various shades and different sides of the coin and encourages you to look into a matter from various standpoints.

Often in life, we are so engrossed and impregnated in our own thoughts and worries ignoring what others are going through. We make our troubles, the center of the universe, which worsens them. Fortunately, reading makes you discern the reality portraying the truth that it is natural to have impediments thrown at you. It opens your mind to other possibilities. It makes you optimistic by persuading you that life will bestow on you better days and a happy ending. Reading can teach you the lessons of life too if you are ready to learn, of course.




Reading can improve your lifespan


As discussed in previous articles, it is possible for us to expand our life span by indulging in healthy activities. And reading is one of them. A 2016 study found that, over a 12 year period, book readers had a 20% reduction in risk of mortality. Since reading stimulates our brain, it promotes neuroplasticity so that neurons form more synaptic connections, which improves coordination with the end result being a smarter you. Not only that, it protects your brain from cognitive decline. This suggests that reading can actually help in dealing with neurodegenerative disorders. Another study demonstrated that people who engage in reading, doing puzzles, and playing chess are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Reading exercises your brain


Reading makes you successful 


As stated by Margaret Fuller, today's reader is tomorrow's leader. There's no doubt in saying that reading will make you successful. Reading is indubitably one of the core habits of almost all successful people. When asked how he built rockets and succeeded enormously in life, Elon Musk answered, "I read books". And many triumphant people acclaim the same. Despite his complicated schedule, Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Mark Cuban, an American entrepreneur reads 3 hours a day. There are umpteen examples to testify the fact that readers win and winners read. As rightly quoted by Thomas Carlyle, "What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books".


How to begin with?


Hopefully, if you wish to incorporate this into your daily routine, here are a few sweet tips for you.


1. One at a time

In the beginning, it's better to choose one book at a time rather than jumbling many and landing into a hotch-potch. Pick one book, of your favorite genre, preferably. There are sundry genres that you can try like humor, thriller, self-help, horror, etc. You better pick something that interests and intrigues, at the same time. 


2. Don't rush

Take your own time reading. Do not skip or run too fast. In the beginning, push yourselves to read by overcoming reluctance. Don't read for too long. For, according to psychology, if you focus on something long enough, your focus blurs, which might make you unwilling in performing that particular activity. Keep it short and sweet. Be consistent and persistent. 


3. Set goals

After finishing a day's reading, write down on the next page when you would come back to do the next reading. Again, psychology says that you are better organized when you write things down. So, set goals. And most importantly, conform to them.


4. Pick a Series

After you are done with your first book, it would be better if you pick a series. For, it keeps you engaged and makes you long for the other books too. Insidiously making you an avid reader of books. I would suggest you select a fiction series available in the market.

Concluding...


The money you invest in books never goes in vain. It pays off. Implicitly, it is like investing in yourself to reap benefits in the future. The above-mentioned things are not something out of the world or unknown to us. Probably, many of us are aware of the incredulous benefits of reading. But, as rightly suggested, the problem is not our ignorance but our inaction. Sometimes, all we need is a little motivation and a bit of rekindling. Overcome your inertia and you will succeed.

Hope my article, 'Your Brain on Reading: 5 ways reading benefits the brain', is of assistance. Subscribe for updates. 

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