Ever wonder why cats have 9 lives? Well, we talked to the expertsu2013our furry feline friendsu2013and found out that they are actually the literature experts of the animal kingdom. Turns out, we humans have been lacking. Our expertise in the art of reading just isn't what it used to be. If we want to stay sharp, quick, and more knowledgeable, we need to start reading NOW. It is good for the mind, heart, and soul. We can't think of a more purr-fect pastime.
When a person reads, he or she gains a series of expectations about the plot and will start to guess what will happen next. By utilizing one's critical and analytical thinking skills, one tries to unravel the details of the story in an effort to figure out the ending. We learn to critique the plot and develop our own opinions on characters, setting, framework, etc. through reading. These skills allow us to rationally argue a point, support an opinion or claim, and see things from different perspectives, all of which can help us in our daily lives.
When you start to read more often, you learn empathy because you visualize yourself in the action of the plot. In addition, you take on the emotions of the characters in the book. "You become more sensitive to the emotional state of people around you." When you become more aware of people around you, you learn how to better interact with them. You gain a heightened sense of social perception, which allows you to "read" a person better and figure out their thoughts. Learn more here.
Reading allows a person to escape reality and discover new worlds of ideas, so obviously, it also helps reduce stress. Losing yourself in a good book can help you forget about work, school, family issues, or whatever's bugging you. All of your tension and worries will drift away as you soak up the story. Even your breathing becomes relaxed and steady when you read because your brain recalculates to fit your mood, which if you are enjoying your book, should be pleasant.
Pump fiction. Just like the rest of your body, your brain needs a workout, too. And no, reading Facebook does not count. Every time you pick up a book to read, you stimulate your brain allowing it to process new concepts and ideas. The more you read, the better your vocabulary will be. It is important to increase your knowledge by filling your head with new information at every given chance in order to face new life challenges and to keep those wheels turning.
When you dive into a novel, you slip into a new realm of possibilities. By expanding your imagination, you become a more creative thinker, which can allow you to process things differently and think outside the box. If there is any way to transport yourself in space and time, it is by reading a good book (at least for now). So take a mental vacation and journey to new lands in between the pages--it'll do wonders on your mind.
Ever fallen asleep while reading? Maybe even dropped the book on your face and jumped back awake? Yep, books are known to help you relax, which is why many people read at night before they go to sleep. This is also why we read bedtime stories to kids. It is a chain reaction: books reduce stress, you become calm, you start to relax, and boom, you're asleep. According to this article, "reading spiritual texts can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm." If you have trouble sleeping, are wound too tight, or just need an escape, pick up a book and do yourself some good.
People who read on the regular stimulate their brain more because reading is a mental challenge that engages cognitive skills-the skills that deal with memory, perception, judgment, and reasoning. In 2001, a study tested the effects of mentally stimulating hobbies and came to the conclusion that people who read have more than twice the chance of not developing Alzheimer's. According to this article, the author of this test, Dr. Robert Freidland, "claims people who don't exercise their gray matter stand a chance of losing brain power." Learn more here. As you get older, you'll thank yourself for constantly feeding your brain with nutrient-rich text, rather than garbage TV or other junk.
You don't need claws to stay sharp! Remembering characters, subplots, twists & turns, and convoluted histories in books helps you to stay sharp and strengthens your short-term memory. According to this article, "every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones." For this reason, your memory can start to improve, which has a strong hand in warding off Alzheimer's and Dementia once you get older and more forgetful.
If you ever find yourself staring off into space, getting distracted, constantly losing focus, reading can benefit that too! Especially nowadays, our brains are wired with a shorter attention span due to the speed of the internet and technology. Because we jump from one thing to the next, we form a habit of ADD-like behavior that prevents us from being productive. Reading requires you to hone in your focus in order to fully absorb the story. As a result, reading once a day will help jump start your productivity, which could lead to a little more leisure time at the end of the day.
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