The Four Things That Happen to Our Minds When We Read
When was the last time you sat down and enjoyed a good novel? A novel that hooked you in and you felt that you benefited from it, and not just in the usual sense. Reading has an amazing effect on the brain other than keeping you entertained and educated. When you read a book, either paperback or ebook, you give your mind a good workout and keep it healthy. Reading helps with your memory, productivity, and has even shown to help ward off dementia. Here are even more reasons why you should make time every day to read a good book.
What you read creates different patterns in the brain
One of the best parts about reading to help benefit the mind means that it doesn’t always have to be a well-researched paper on a real-life matter. The brain reacts differently to when you read fiction, a textbook, a memoir, or the newspaper. A research group out of Stanford University conducted a study to see how the brain reacts to different kinds of literature. Study participants who read for literary research, versus for pleasure, saw the brain create patterns that worked out its complex cognitive functions. If you can, try to squeeze in some research papers or nonfiction along with your usual reads to get an extra boost of brainpower.
You get to live out others’ experiences
Reading about someone’s experience is almost the same a living it yourself. Read I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, and you get a sense of what it would be like to live in a world where if you stay out past curfew, you could die from a vampire-zombie gang. Lucky for you, when you don’t want to experience that feeling anymore, you can shut the book! Researchers say we feel connected to stories this way because the neurological regions of what you experience in real life versus in a book are stimulated the same. You can apply the same concept to putting on a VR headset, but reading is much better for you.
Reading a text in a foreign language keeps the mind sharper for longer
If you haven’t tried it already, pick up a novel in a foreign language. In general, when you learn a foreign language, your mind becomes sharper, improves your memory, and changes your brain’s overall structure. Is it fair to say that all of this “keeps your mind sharper for longer?” Others interested in finding out the answer to the same question conducted studies on this topic. Eton Institute sums everything up, concluding that language learning keeps your brain healthy. “For monolingual adults, the mean age for the first signs of dementia is 71.4. For adults who speak two or more languages, the mean age for those first signs is 75.5.” When you take a language course, you are put on a deadline to learn as much as possible. Reading in your non-native tongue allows you to select the topic and go at your own pace. Start with simple texts or read translations of books that you are familiar with. If you’ve seen all of the Lord of the Rings movies, but never read the books, start there and see how it goes. You could be speaking Spanish in no time!
Your attention span increases
How often have you heard someone praise their latest read as, “It is a book that you won’t be able to put down!”? It is those types of books that help grow your attention span. When you dive deep and immerse yourself in a story, you become familiar with a story’s three-part structure: a beginning, a middle, and an end. The more you read, the more familiar you become with this concept. If you’ve fallen out of the habit of reading, stay the course of your reading challenge. You’ll see that you won’t find yourself staring at the wall clock during school or work, and instead know automatically when things have “wrapped up” for the day.
If you are looking for some good book recommendations, we have searched the web for the best reads that business professionals, memior fanatics, and fiction-only readers will enjoy. All of these reads will help advance your career by changing your brain in all the ways mentioned above. In addition to reading more, sign up for our How To Talk To Anyone To Advance Your Career course. This course will help you build relationships that can build momentum in your career. You’ll learn how to improve your communication, networking & social skills so you can find the job you love and reduce anxiety around social situations. Click the link to learn more.