Your Brain on Books

Growing up, I can remember teachers and my parents telling me to turn off the TV and go read because it was “good for me”. Turns out they were right. I have been reading several articles about the effects that reading has on your brain. Here are some take-aways that I have found through my research.

  1. Reading relaxes you. It gives your brain the workout it needs. I definitely find this to be true and have written about it in more detail here, A Book A Day Keeps the Nightmares Away
  2. Reading improves memory, which can prevent against diseases of aging like Alzhiemers. “According to a study at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, mental stimulation like reading can help protect memory and thinking skills, especially with age. The authors of the study even suggest that reading every day can slow down late-life cognitive decline, keeping brains healthier and higher functioning for longer.” (Bustle article 1)

3. Reading increases empathy. When we read about a character we are transported into their shoes. This is literally the case as it has been shown on brain scans. “if you’re reading a passage from Harry Potter where he is running away from the Dementors, the neurons associated with the physical act of running are actually activated.” (Bustle Article 2)

4. Reading increases communication. Ever been reading a book and stumble across a word you know but never use and then find yourself using that word in your daily life a day or two later? Reading increases your vocabulary and makes you sound super smarter.

5. Reading increases attention span. I have actually heard this from several sources and I think it is profound. So often, I hear people tell me they don’t read because they can’t pay attention or “books are boring”. Well, according to research, the solution is to read more not less!

6. Reading offers a new way to relate. Often when I am reading something, I stumble across a passage, a paragraph, even just a sentence that stands out to me or intrigues me. Then I share it with my husband or a friend, and a conversation ensues. Reading, discovering new ideas, gives you the capacity to relate to others around you in novel ways. Pun intended.

This is a very short list of all of the benefits of reading and I could go on, but it’s late and I still haven’t adjusted to the time change. Happy reading everyone!

Resources

Bustle Article 1: https://www.bustle.com/p/why-reading-is-the-best-workout-for-your-brain-57441

Bustle Article 2: https://www.bustle.com/p/why-reading-is-the-best-workout-for-your-brain-57441

Published by annkendig

I am a mental health and addiction therapist in Cincinnati Ohio. Happy exploring and may all beings be well.

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