Do you feel idle? Does your brain need a bit of fine-tuning? Do you think you can’t get any smarter?
Well, you can only get better. People often talk about health, physical health to be precise. People hit the gym, eat healthy or jog every morning but often forget about mental health. For most of us, we seldom give our brains a little kick to keep it alert. Boosting your brain power is like a muscle that needs regular exercise. In sports, you have to practice daily to master the craft. With brain power, you can take a little time every day to train your brain and it’s simple that doesn’t require any equipment.
Reading is a process of interpreting symbols. It has been one of the oldest means of communication, education and sharing of ideas. It is also a favorite past time of all ages. Thru reading, one escapes the humdrum of everyday life and enter a different world full of wonder and discovery. You can travel the world, learn various crafts, experience a lot of things and feel different kinds of emotion even without leaving your room, in just one sitting. You can perceive things from faraway places and matters that are vague suddenly gets crystal clear, like wearing eyeglasses.
If reading has the power to change someone’s life or change your perception of things then most probably it can cause changes in brain power.
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Mental Stimulation through Reading
Studies show that reading boosts brain power and delays cognitive impairment in old age. With reading, you use problem-solving skills, memory and imagination that keeps your brain sharp and active. When you read, you train your brain to visualize what you are reading. You also drive your brain to analyze the message, thus keeping it sharp.
As with stories, readers usually put their selves in the shoes of the character. As they read on, they also think of what they would do, how they would act or respond to situations that the characters are facing. The readers give their speculations about the character and the storyline. This gives them an opportunity to participate in the story and stimulates problem-solving skills, decision-making, reasoning and analytical thinking.
One research made by Robert S. Wilson, Ph.D. suggests that engaging in activities that boost brain power across a person’s lifetime is important for brain health. In this study, the memory and cognition of 294 people were measured thru tests for every year in about six years before they died at an average age of 89. They were asked to answer a questionnaire on whether they engaged in reading and other brain power boosting activities during their childhood, adolescence, middle age and at their current age. Their brains were examined for signs of dementia such as brain plaques, tangles and lesions when they died. Because of the opposing levels of plaques, tangles and lesions in the brain, it was discovered that there is a slower decline in memory for those participants who engaged inc both in early and late in life than for those participants who did not engage in brain power boosting activities throughout their lifetime.
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Approximately 15 percent of the variance in decline is credited to mental activity. It was also found out that people with frequent brain power boosting activities, the rate of decline was reduced by 32 percent in late life, in comparison with people who have average brain power boosting activities. For those with occasional brain power boosting activities, the rate of decline was 48 percent quicker than those with average activity.
Another study made at Emory University suggested that reading a good book causes increased brain activity and neurological changes specifically in the left temporal cortex. This is the primary sensory-motor region of the brain and is connected to language receptivity. The neurons in this area trick the mind that it is doing what it is thinking. When you think of drowning, it’s like you are experiencing the sensation of drowning. Your heart beats fast or your breathing is labored. In this research, 21 participants with ages between 19 and 27 had MRI scans for nineteen days. Before having the MRI scans in the mid nine days, the participants were asked to read a portion of the novel Pompeii by Joshua Harris the night before and were given a quiz. No reading was done for the first and last five days of the research. This study revealed that even after finishing the book, the neurologic changes lingered, having a lasting effect.
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Reading is one good way to boost brain power. And based on the findings above, we should value the consequences of daily habits of reading and other brain power boosting activities. The more we stimulate our brains, the better it functions. We should not only value not only a healthy body but also a sound mind.