You Are No Longer As Informed As You Use To Be
When you stop reading you will start to lose the informative touch, the edge, you used to have.
Most of the time, the people who are informed often get that knowledge from reading.
Reading is the best way to stay with the trends and to know what is happening around you.
Stopping to read will limit the flow of information that you used to have.
Soon you will lose the edge in this world of information.
So You Feel Like Turning Japanese
Like the 80s English band, The Vapors, you might feel like turning Japanese, but of course you cant. You might not be able to move to Japan or even buy sushi where you live. But you could have your own amazing miniature Japanese doll house! This one is sold as a kit from Billy, a Japanese dollhouse company.
My Struggles As A Reader
I knew it wasnt a question of , since I recently explored it as a factor of my reading and creative productivity. My reading habits and screen usage had also not changed so much to warrant a possible cognitive explanation. So I went looking for answers beyond my brains physiology. After all, reading as an act is much more poetic and abstract than a purely mechanical one. I believed I had to try and understand what was going on in my mind to understand why my cognitive concentration had changed. Enter Zora Neale Hurston and , two wildly different authors who have recently had an enormous impact on my reading life.
Recently I picked up the new collection of Hurstons short stories, written during her time living in Harlem. In the introduction, the editor advises the reader that this collection should preferably be read out loud or listened to if you would like to have the complete experience of Hurstons powerful writing. I took their advice and proceeded to get the audiobook. I knew from the moment I started rereading her work that I had lost some part of that ability I acquired so many years ago. Still, it soon came back to me once I could listen to the audiobook narrator. Their magnificent performance helped me mimic the linguistic sounds of Hurstons characters in my mind, and I gained a more fruitful understanding of my reading. But why was that? Why is it that as readers we have to return, we have to find ourselves working to enter a narrative even as adults?
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This Is What Happens To Your Brain When You Read Poetry
When I think of poetry that packs a sensory punch that gives me the chills, that makes my hair stand on end I think of Rainer Maria Rilkes First Elegy. In particular, I think of these lines:
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terrorwhich we are barely able to endure, and it amazes us so,because it serenely disdains to destroy us.Every angel is terrible.
The terror Rilke describes here, at least the way Ive always interpreted it, is the terror of seeing our world from such a removed perspective that we feel as though we might be able to move beyond existence itself. Entering this orbit of wider understanding might allow us to finally see our limitations and the complexities of the world, but it is also a state of being that we do not and cannot fully understand. Its a seductive possibility, at once perversely beautiful and terrifying.
But how does this poetical pleasure take place? And what, exactly, does it look like? In a study published last month in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Eugen Wassiliwizky, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, and a small team of scholars at other German and Norwegian universities set out to understand just that.
Reading Reduces Stress Levels
Research has found reading for just 30 minutes can reduce the physical and emotional signs of stress.
A small 2009 study of full-time undergraduate students compared the effects of yoga, humorous videos, and reading on stress levels. It found students who read news articles for 30 minutes experienced a decrease in physical markers of stress, like heart rate and blood pressure, compared to before they began the activity. They also had lower scores on stress surveys.
The study concluded “neutral” reading material, or material that doesn’t elicit a strong emotional feeling, is relaxing, and decreases arousal of the sympathetic nervous system which directs the body’s response to stressful situations and danger. However, reading the news may not be relaxing for everyone. Instead, you can opt for novels, short stories, or other reading materials.
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Flipping Pages Can Help You Understand What Youre Reading
When it comes to actually remembering what youre reading, youre better off going with a book than you are an e-book. The feel of paper pages under your fingertips provides your brain with some context, which can lead to a deeper understanding and better comprehension of the subject youre reading about, Wired reports. So to reap the benefits of a good read, opt for the kind with physical pages .
You Will Find A Safe Way To Escape When Your Own Life Is Depressing Overwhelming Or Just Boring
No need to turn to drugs or alcohol. Save your money. Get a library card, or start downloading some of those thousands of ebooks in the public domain. Get wrapped up in a story. Get lost in another world. Get into a characters head and out of your own.
Its instant. Its economical. Its portable: your own personal escape route when things get to be too much.
And whos going to look down on you for reading a book? You smart thing, you. I wont tell them whats really going on. Promise.
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Reading Doesn’t Just Cram Information Into Your Brain It Changes How Your Brain Works
We all know reading can teach you facts, and knowing the right thing at the right time helps you be more successful. But is that the entire reason just about every smart, accomplished person you can think of, from Bill Gates to Barack Obama, credits much of their success to their obsessive reading?
Not according to neuroscience. Reading, science shows, doesn’t just fill your brain with information it actually changes the way your brain works for the better as well.
What’s Going On In Your Child’s Brain When You Read Them A Story
“I want The Three Bears!”
These days parents, caregivers and teachers have lots of options when it comes to fulfilling that request. You can read a picture book, put on a cartoon, play an audiobook, or even ask Alexa.
A newly published study gives some insight into what may be happening inside young children’s brains in each of those situations. And, says lead author Dr. John Hutton, there is an apparent “Goldilocks effect” some kinds of storytelling may be “too cold” for children, while others are “too hot.” And, of course, some are “just right.”
Hutton is a researcher and pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with a special interest in “emergent literacy” the process of learning to read.
For the study, 27 children around age 4 went into an FMRI machine. They were presented with stories in three conditions: audio only the illustrated pages of a storybook with an audio voiceover and an animated cartoon. All three versions came from the Web site of Canadian author Robert Munsch.
While the children paid attention to the stories, the MRI, the machine scanned for activation within certain brain networks, and connectivity between the networks.
The default mode network includes regions of the brain that appear more active when someone is not actively concentrating on a designated mental task involving the outside world.
In terms of Hutton’s “Goldilocks effect,” here’s what the researchers found:
The illustration condition was what Hutton called “just right”.
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A Daily Dose Of Reading Can Do Wonders For Your Memory Health And Relationships
The best thing you can do for your brain today requires minimal money, space, and timejust pick up a good book. Out of the countless methods to improve everything from memory to sleep quality, the most tried-and-true option is to read, experts say. And just as you should exercise or eat vegetables each day, you reap the most brain-boosting rewards when you read regularly. Here are some of the amazing benefits of reading every day.
Youll Speak More Eloquently
Thanks in part to your increased vocabulary and thanks in part to your constant immersion in the language including lots of editing your basic grasp of proper grammar will improve. Whats more, your efforts to find alternate phrasing for simple ideas wont die when you turn away from the paper or computer screen to face real humans once again.
The end result will be that youll be able to speak more confidently, and you will color your speech with subtle word choices that can positively influence your impact in conversations.
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Reading Makes You Smarter
What happens when we read…
Does reading books make you smarter?
No matter how you look at it, when you read, you give yourself a chance to learn something new.
There is no end to knowledge, dedicating your life to learning as much as you can is often recommended. Reading makes you smarter according to Examined existence.
Reading ensures that you are always informed regarding many issues. With that knowledge, you will become smarter and more exposed.
Reading Improves Memory And Concentration
While the brain isn’t a muscle, it still benefits from exercise. Similar to how lifting weights makes our bodies stronger, reading is a cognitively demanding process that can strengthen memory and concentration.
When humans read, we create a “mental map” of written text. This mental map helps us process words we are reading and aids in knowledge recall and memory. Romanoff says a regular reading routine helps the brain “practice” mental processes that contribute to memory functioning.
“Our brains also mentally process written words as if we were writing them,” Romanoff says. “These processes require mental effort and concentration. With continued reinforcement, there is a greater capacity for memory functioning.”
A 2013 study of elderly men and women found people who participated in mentally challenging activities like reading and writing had a slower rate of memory decline earlier and later in life compared to those who did not engage in such activities.
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You Will Be More Creative
As you fill your mind with fresh material from all these books, something wonderful starts happening.
Your mind wakes up.
Creativity is really all about making connections. The creative people in life, the ones we admire for their ingenuity, are the ones who can make those connections really well. They have a broad database of knowledge, and they dont bother keeping the categories separate. They let poetry seep into science. They let faith and history hang out together.
They understand, in fact, that all those categorizations are imposed. We put labels on things so that we can feel like we understand them, but sometimes the labels are counterproductive.Reading helps you tear the labels off.
Reading helps you to fill your mind from as many sources as you want, and then let all of that beautiful stuff mingle and mix in anyway it wants.
Believing You Can Change Your Brain
Finally, it turns out that simply believing that you have the power to physically change your brain can in fact help you change your brain.
Carol Dweck explained the significance of what she called a growth mindset in her famous TED Talk titled The Importance of Believing You Can Improve. To sum up her profound point, kids who are taught that they didnt correctly solve a problem or pass a test yet showed more willingness to learn and improve than those graded on a simple pass/fail system:
Just the words yet or not yet, were finding, give kids greater confidence, give them a path into the future that creates greater persistence. And we can actually change students mindsets. In one study, we taught them that every time they push out of their comfort zone to learn something new and difficult, the neurons in their brain can form new, stronger connections, and over time they can get smarter.
The benefits of a growth mindset arent limited to school children. Approaching challenges with an attitude that embraces growth and improvement can give us the grit we need to push our limits, strengthen beneficial neural connections, and create entirely new ones well into old age.
I dont know about you, but I find that incredibly comforting.
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Spoken Word Can Put Your Brain To Work:
Critics are quick to dismiss audiobooks as a sub-par reading experience, but research has shown that the act of listening to a story can light up your brain. When we’re told a story, not only are language processing parts of our brain activated, experiential parts of our brain come alive, too. Hear about food? Your sensory cortex lights up, while motion activates the motor cortex. And while you may think that this is limited only to audiobooks or reading, experts insist that our brains are exposed to narratives all day long. In fact, researcher Jeremy Hsu shares, “Personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations.” So go ahead, listen to your coworker’s long and drawn out story about their vacation, tune in to talk radio, or listen to an audiobook in the car: it’s good exercise for your brain.
The Neuroscience Of Deep Reading Will Make You Want To Curl Up With A Great Book
Books can make us smarter, more informed, even more intellectually humble. But one of the most powerful benefits of regular reading is greater empathy. Through words you are transported to another’s perspective. You look through their eyes. You understand their pain and their joy.
That can relieve loneliness and make life a whole lot more pleasant, but it’s also good for business. Understanding customers and collaborators helps you get more done and be more creative.
So how exactly do books accomplish this magic trick? On Lit Hub recently, Tufts University professor of child development and reading expert Maryanne Wolf explained the fascinating neuroscience of what immersion in a good book does to your brain. It’s a must read for bibliophiles, but the basic takeaways are valuable for any professional who wants to use books as a tool to perform at their best.
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Reading May Even Help You Live Longer
Not only is reading beneficial for brain health, but it is also linked to a longer life. A large 12-year study published in 2017 found reading books is associated with a 20% reduction in risk of mortality compared to those who didn’t read books.
Reading may not cause you to live longer on its own, but it might be associated with an overall healthy lifestyle and a lower risk of early death.
What We Still Dont Know About Reading And Dyslexia
Researchers have been using a variety of tools to boost our understanding of reading and the brain. But there are still lots of questions. Scientists are working to figure out which brain differences cause dyslexia and which ones are caused it.
Brain anatomy: Researchers arent sure why the parts of the brain shown above are different in people with dyslexia. But their brain anatomy changes when they get intensive reading instruction.
Their brains create more gray matter and white matter. Gray matter contains the parts of brain cells that communicate with each other. White matter connects the gray matter in different parts of the brain.
Brain chemistry: People with higher levels of certain neurotransmitters are more likely to struggle with reading. These levels may make it harder for brain cells to send electrical signals. But its too soon to know if medication could help.
Brain waves: When groups of brain cells sync up their firing patterns, this electrical activity is called a brain wave. Different rhythmic patterns might affect the way people with dyslexia process sounds or letters.
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You Could Boost Your Iq
Bookworms, youre in luck: Research suggests that children who are strong readers could become more intelligent adults. A decade-long study by the UKs Society for Research in Child Development analyzed the cognitive development of nearly 2,000 sets of identical twins, comparing them by their reading skills and test scores. The results showed that the twin with the best early reading skills scored higher on intelligence tests as a teenager than his or her less literacy-inclined sibling. That said, youre never too old to start reading one of the 100 books everyone has to read in their lifetime.
Your Vocabulary Will Grow
There are only so many times you can type that your character walked to the door or said something insightful before you bore yourself to tears. Within the span of every few hundred words, youre likely to touch on the same topic at least a couple of times, but youll want to keep your language fresh.
When you write every day, the thesaurus becomes one of your best friends, and many of those punchy synonyms will stick with you for the future.
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Your Brain’s Structure Changes
Whilst you might never really get into reading if you find it a struggle, anyone can be trained to become a more proficient reader. When undergoing training, your brain actually changes physically. Scientists from Carnegie Mellon University assessed students on a 6-month daily reading program and found that the white matter in the language area of their brains had actually increased.