“Reading is not simply a small daily great pleasure; Currently there are studies that show the benefits that this activity has for our brain.”
There is no activity that does not leave a mark on our nervous system, and reading is no exception. In addition, as it is a habit that can be incorporated into our day to day and that involves many parts of our brain, its effects can be noticed quickly.
Taking a fancy to the world of fiction and non-fiction books not only makes us seem more educated; it is also a way to achieve benefits that we will enjoy far beyond the public image we project.
The benefits that books bring to the brain
These are some of the positive effects that reading has on our mind, although they do not have to be the only ones; they could discover more over time.
1. Makes the brain more interconnected
There is evidence that the habit of reading books causes several groups of brain neurons to be more and better connected to each other. This occurs, at least, with the nerve cells of the left temporal lobe, closely related to language management.
That is to say, that thanks to the reading, neurons of our brain will tend to communicate more with each other, establishing more solid links among themselves. And why is this beneficial? Well, among other things, because it is known that a more interconnected brain causes the symptoms of dementia to be appeased.
This means that although the passage of time can cause many neurons to die, having created many available communication routes, our brain learns to “dodge” damaged routes by resorting to others.
2. Makes us empathize more and better
It has also been observed that reading fiction books, which have one or more protagonists, makes the neurons of the sensory motor zone of the central sulcus better communicated, which is linked to a greater capacity to put on the skin of other people.
Somehow, reading books makes us feel identified with what the characters do, coming to imagine ourselves doing what they do. This fact makes the readings become an empathy enhancer.
3. Help to overcome stress
There is evidence that reading regularly allows us to introduce a small oasis of peace in our lives, a few moments of calm in which we experience sensations similar to those produced by meditation.
In fact, there are reasons to think that, in terms of its power to reduce stress, reading is even more effective than going for a walk or listening to music.
4. It allows us to sleep better
Assuming reading as a ritual before going to sleep can make falling asleep easier and, consequently, our brain has better health and time to repair itself.
What explains this is that reading fiction is a way to disconnect from our daily concerns, and that means that it allows our attention to be disengaged from obligations, problems with work, etc.
Reading is, in short, a good way to stop rumination, and makes us more able to avoid falling all the time into those thoughts that put us on alert. This makes it less likely that our brain remains active when trying to find solutions to what concerns us, something that theoretically sounds good but that in practice does not let us sleep, making us increasingly weary and have more difficulty maintaining concentration.
5. Books help us to exercise memory
The usual reading of poetry has shown to have an effect on our ability to remember elements, something that also happens with music. The key is that it helps us to link information with a certain type of emotional state generated by the reading of the verses, and that allows us to remember better.
That is to say, emotions act as clues that lead us to certain kinds of memories associated with them, something that is closely related to the discoveries about memory that a few decades ago discovered the psychologist Gordon Bower.