When is the last time you picked up a book just for the sake of getting lost in a character’s world? We all remember the books we had to read in college; you’re probably even thinking right now, with dread, about that one book that you thought you would never finish and have vowed to never read again. I won’t name mine. But there’s a whole different world of books out there, the ones that aren’t required. They aren’t in any particular genre or length and there’s not a time limit on when to have them finished. We choose not to read because a lot of us don’t understand reading’s importance.
A recent article in Psychology Today said that, “Becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Interestingly, reading fiction was found to improve the reader’s ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to the visualization of a muscle memory in sports.”
The study this article discusses shows that the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes improves theory of mind, which is “the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own.” Also, the study showed how different areas of the brain were connected together after reading, when an fMRI was performed on participants of the study.
Even if you don’t have hours and hours to read, get a quiet place, turn off everything electronic and devote a window of time to read. There are several studies that show the same results: reading is good for your brain. Even if you only do it for escape.
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