The positive benefits of reading are too many to list in a single post. As they say, reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Honestly, I am not talking about reading a “tweet,” Instagram post, a text message from a friend or any other social media posts. But about the reading considered part of pleasure time or enjoyment. The concentration that gets you acquainted with a book. And connect you with a single story; its plots and characters since the moment you opened the first page.
True story: Several years ago, I got sick, and my memory was the most affected. I could not function as before; therefore, I became obsessed with a fast cognitive recovery. A neurologist told me that the best thing I was able to do for my brain was never to stop reading because staying mentally active renovate and repair the brain. Companies like Lumosity or CogniFit (which I used back then), function as online programs and applications for brain exercises. They have become favorite apps by many people because of the incredible benefits. The brain is also a muscle; practice is needed to keep it healthy.
Besides reading, If you want to learn more about improving your mind in natural ways, then you got to watch these TEDx Talks from Psychiatrists Daniel Amen. Based on his book – Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.
Here are my tips.
It does not matter how much chaos you have in your life; it all just disappears when you find yourself concentrated reading a great story. A good book will make you fantasize and keep you entertained. It will take your mind away from the present and help you relax. My favorite “Me, Myself and I” moment is when I sit holding a cup of tea (Matcha, anyone?), while lost in a good book story.
Like some of my recent favorites: Paris Time Capsule or A Paris Apartment, both based on the true story of a beautiful apartment abandoned in Paris for seventy years. The apartment was opened for the first time, after many years of being abandoned. It was discovered that it used to belong to a Parisian Belle Époque courtesan who left secrets, a story of romance, history, and mysteries hidden inside that apartment. I devoured both novels in a couple of days. These books were incredibly fun to read. Great stories!
Reading is often revitalizing the brain with new data and information. The more useful information you put “in there,” the more active the mind is to confront new obstacles and handle upcoming challenges (be selective with your reading choices!). There is real evidence that book lovers can make their brain come alive with emotions and senses. A similar benefit for those that enjoy listening to a good book let’s say through Audible.com. The brain gets to light up when you hear a satisfying narrated story. The central part of the brain which process language gets activated. Reading makes you connect to real-life experiences. The mind believes that you have lived and experienced the story.
Each time I read a book, I end up remembering a series of situations: location described, characters and episodes. Focusing on a single subject is vital for our brains to confront modern days.
Day by day, our mind is divided into several tasks, work, and assignments. Just think of yourself now, while you are reading this on your computer or smartphone. How many more tabs do you have open? How many other apps? There is so much to unlearn. Communication is over advertised, every second from all directions. However, when you read a book, what happens? You are engaged in a single task. Just a unique story at that precise moment. Such solitude of attention is excellent and healthy to improve your memory and focus.
While reading, we learn to relate to others. It increases the capacity to deduce what others are thinking by reading into people’s feelings. As we let go of the mental chatter in the real world, in-depth reading allows us to fell what the characters feel within the story. Reading makes us more empathetic and increases our awareness of others.
The National Institute on Aging stated that some factors associated with Alzheimer could be prevented. Evidence suggests that activity as reading has enormous cognitive benefits. People who don’t exercise their brain stand a chance of losing brain power. Reading engages the mind and prevents inactivity, which prevents the likelihood of being diagnosed with Alzheimer.
Blindness by Jose Saramago
I recently read a book called Blindness by Jose Saramago (for those who also speak Spanish, Ensayo Sobre la Ceguera), a strong fictional story about a deadly epidemic, making everyone exposed become blind. In the story, those people who became sick were collected and secluded from a hospital, to avoid spreading the disease. In the middle of that blindness, the victims started showing their real humanity and spirit; except for one single woman at the hospital, who could see and witnessed the behavior in others. It is through her eyes that we learn the whole story.
This book talks about blindness as a physical disability but also as a cultural, ethical and moral problem. Do we live in a society blind with the pain of others? This book left me speechless. I could not stop reading. Blindness is the type of book that makes you analyze, the small day by day details in life. This book got me thinking about the privilege of our senses and the many things we take for granted.
If you close your eyes, would you still identify the sound of the rain? How about the intensity of the thunder and lightning? Or the smell of the earth getting wet from the rain? And the sensation of walking in mud?
Would you recognize the particular sound of the steps of that person you love approaching? We do so much talk throughout the whole day. We carry that egocentric habit of exposing others constantly to our words and thoughts; by doing that, we forget how to hear, how to listen to our surroundings or our bodies and others. If we go blind today; what would save us more, the way we talked or how we have listened?
The Time in Between By Maria Dueñas
I cannot write enough about how much I enjoyed this book called The Time in Between by Maria Dueñas. I read the original Spanish version El Tiempo Entre Costuras, but recently I bought the English version for a friend of mine. My friend became enchanted with such a fantastic story.
The Time in Between is about a young woman, Sira Quiroga. She has been a seamstress since childhood. As a girl in love, she leaves her old boyfriend, moves to another country with her lover, learns to survive being abandoned and penniless, build a reputation as a high-class seamstress and end up being a spy to prevent an upcoming war. I could not put this book down. Each new chapter was even more fascinating than the last one.
It became even more enjoyable when I recently discovered the TV series on Netflix! I rarely watch TV, but this series got me glued for days. The series has the same name as the book, The Time in Between. The actors were incredible, and each episode has a “Wao” effect, like the book. It is an exquisite story, and if that is not enough, then just wait for it, until you see the character “Ramiro” on the screen. I was drooling!
Note From An Introvert:
I do not leave home without a good book, in the case of “end-to-the-world” scenarios like finding myself hanging out with a group of people who are regularly gossiping and enjoying other people’s problems (kidding!). It is preferable to talk about new books, articles, people’s interest or hobbies. I prefer to be engaged in a long conversation about my dreams, ideas, questions and a good book.
Here is something that I believe: Energy and vibration are food to our souls. We must defend the person we want to become or act against what we do not want to become by firmly choosing between engaging or blocking. If the experience is soul-drenching, energy-sucking, contagious or forcing an involuntary participation that destroys your vibe. Then maybe, just maybe, we need to get creative with ways on how to politely say no. I do not feel sorry for finding a way, to walk away from engagements that make me feel uncomfortable or destroy others. You know, we the introverts.
Reading instead can help you understand other cultures, provide you with a mental replica of real-life scenarios and experiences. It allows us to create worlds in our minds. In resume, makes it possible to visualize and understand other cultures in our thoughts and reduce prejudice. The benefits of reading are endless, and it is always a win-win situation.
What book would you add to the list? I’m always searching for a good recommendation. What are you reading?
Thank you kindly! All opinions are my own.