Reading is a passion we can take into our old age and not worry about our performance! After all, it’s not a game we’re playing… we’re just keeping our brains functioning at optimum level.
Let’s be clear. Scrolling through Facebook is not a brain workout. Reading a book is. In fact, all the new-fangled brain games we play are really no substitute for plain old reading which can be called the first brain game.
Reading gives our brain a serious workout. As you’re reading this, for example, your brain is decoding a series of complex symbols (bet you never heard letters described in that way before!) and then creating complex ideas from the synthesised results.
The benefits of reading include:
Reading lowers your stress levels. Focussing on what you’re reading is far removed from everyday life and its problems.
Whatever your read will exercise your brain, get you thinking, and help your imagination to soar.
Reading enhances empathy, and reading fiction helps you to understand the mental states, differing ideas, wants and needs, and beliefs.
Reading is known to improve memory – even if only for discussion with fellow readers in the book club you’re going to join! Reading has been shown to stimulate memory as well as slow cognitive decline as we age.
Flex your imagination muscle and get the two brain halves connecting better. Strengthen the bridge between the logical left and the creative right! Read those novels that have been sitting gathering dust.
Ditch the screen and make reading a part of your bedtime ritual. But limit the time. There are some books that are really hard to put down and you won’t sleep better at all!
Your vocabulary has grown over the years and continuing to read will make it grow further. That is, of course, the magic of words, and they can make our imaginations burst forth!
When it comes to writing, we become better at it as we age. Here’s why:
If you’re telling your story or writing something fictional, you have years of experience to share. Draw on it!
Yes, you have become wiser! You know things you may have even forgotten learning, but once you put pen to paper, the flood gates open. It’s like opening a packet of Maltesers…
The big tip here is to write everything down. Create lists and tick off items only when they are done. Don’t waste valuable brain space by trying to remember everything. You have better things to do.
Utilise the potential available and keep it moving. You’re slowing cognitive decline by doing so.
You have a lifetime of words to play with; recall and re-learn and just expand.
You may need to manage our emotions, especially when it comes to editing the writing we produce.
Your logical left brain communicates far better with your creative right brain as you age. It makes it easier to gather your thoughts and use them to your best advantage.
You probably noticed that reading and writing have the same effects, though in slightly different ways. But they are both crucial to slowing the aging of your brain.
Whatever reasons, or excuses, you have used not to write, get rid of them now. You have the time and the inclination so start writing. Let the butterfly in you fly.
If you didn’t read when you were younger because you never had the time, now you can make the time. Stimulate your brain and let your imagination out of its cage.
How often do you read? What type of books do you prefer? Have you ever thought of writing a book or is it still a dream on your bucket list? Please share in the comments below!
Tags Brain Health