How Reading Helps Your Brain Evolve
How Reading Helps Your Brain Evolve Making reading a life-long habit is a must.
Our brain is a muscle.
For it to grow, you have to deploy lots of training.
Have you ever gone to the gym?
If you did, you probably know how hard it is to lose weight, build muscle and stay in shape, the hardest of them all.
Our brain is exactly the same.
We have to feed it with constant challenges.
I was always amazed by people like Richard Dawkins, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawkins, who, at their age remained very sharp.
Reading books is one of the best ways to train our most valuable muscle, the brain.
Listening to audiobooks, podcasts, interviews or watching documentaries, movies, and YouTube videos is a good way to challenge your thinking.
However, reading is a different type of game.
I like how Jordan Peterson describes it:
A book is like a portrait, as opposed to a photograph. A photograph is a “click”, that’s that. A portrait, you layer on it, layer on it and layer on it. You still have the same image, but, there’s depth to it. A book is the same, it enables you to think, rethink, think and rethink.
You can go deeper in a book than any other medium.
You become an expert in a niche, as opposed to Youtube videos, where you are concentrated more on the visuals, storytelling or animations.
Your brain is constantly challenged.
It is under stress.
It wants to understand.
It becomes sharper every day.
But how exactly?
What are the main features that help our brain evolve?
After reading every day for 8 months now, I have a few ideas —
What are the neuroscientists saying?
Reading is changing your mind.
Using MRI scans, researchers have confirmed that reading involves a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain. Like our muscles, as your reading matures, those networks also get stronger and more sophisticated.
To be exact, the left part of our brain, which is associated with language reception, is under “stress” which helps the brain learn.
This continues for several days.
So, if you are constantly reading, your brain is constantly learning. As a result, you are becoming smarter every day.
We have finally confirmed that reading books is somewhat the same as a gym session.
No wonder why it’s so difficult for me to gain weight.
Here are some other features that come along the way —
1) Expansion of your vocabulary
How often do you encounter new words while reading?
The more you read, the more you will be exposed to new words. As a result, your mental dictionary will improve.
That’s the first thing I have noticed after reading for a while.
I started using new words in conversations, which helped me immensely deliver my ideas in creative ways. This improved my “success” rate of a great discussion because I started communicating more effectively
Moreover, I have noticed a huge difference in my writing.
My writing style has changed in these 3 months. I am articulating my thoughts easily and I’m expressing myself more accurately.
2) Exploring new worlds, imagination boost.
You are always travelling.
That’s probably one of the biggest reasons I am reading.
I’m a daydreamer.
I’m not yet capable of travelling around the world, but, I am slowly moving towards this goal.
Until then I will be travelling in the realms of books.
It doesn’t matter what book you are reading. You are always on a ride.
It can be a biography/memoir, where you are in the shoes of the author, experiencing his life. You can become the main hero of a fiction book, like Harry Potter, exploring the magic world.
So many ideas pop up because of reading. You are constantly getting inspired.
Stephen King mentions in his book, On Writing, that if you want to be a writer you have to be a reader as well.
You are taking thoughts and ideas from different worlds and bringing them here.
How awesome is that?
3) Becoming more focused and concentrated
The most important one nowadays.
One of the scariest ongoing pandemics of today’s world is the overuse of social media. I am a zombie like everyone else, however, I am trying my best to limit my use of it.
There are many reasons why it is very dangerous, but, I will mention the one I hate the most.
Our attention span became very short.
It’s more difficult to be in the moment or have conversations where people listen to each over and let others talk.
We are a generation of junkies, searching for constant dopamine intake.
This is the biggest reason why people stopped reading books.
The process of reading is very slow, compared to other mediums.
But that’s exactly why we should be reading books.
When you are reading, you must be 100% focused on the process. That’s the only way to understand the material in front of you, excluding distractions and the constant jabber in your head.
We can’t concentrate on our work, hobbies and overall life — the present moment.
People are slowly realising the depth of this problem.
Introducing reading to your life will help you fight that.
Thank you for reading! Reading is not only a great hobby, but also, a healthy one.
Optimize your reading list!
Check out this free Digital Bookshelf — a simple reading tracker template :)
About the Creator
Writing articles, reading books, listening to podcasts — constantly learning.
All my socials: bio.link/ionutzkazaku
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
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Spot on! Definitely feel a lot of my creative writing comes from the information I've retained from my favorite authors. Well done!
Nice one. “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” -Kate DiCamillo
I'm professor and I can say that your brain needs to consume every time by new events, discovers, knowledge etc. That's all important for our mind in order to stay healthy and in a good mood and state
Super interesting and insightful. I’ve had quite a bit of dementia training and the “circuits and signals” that you referenced are crucial in preventing dementia. The more new pathways our brain is forced to create is a huge advantage for healthy brain function as we age. New ideas that are introduced through reading stimulate those pathways. Thank you for sharing!
Someone please advise how to develop a habit of reading books :-( I'm kind of a lost soul, perhaps books could be my last resort but finding it difficult to read for longer than half an hour per session!
Thanks for sharing this. I like the Jordan Peterson quote about the portriat-like qualities of a book. I hope you do get to travel the world!
Love this. All of this rings true! Reading teaches us far more than we realize. I've certainly learned a lot of grammar rules and whatnot from reading. A great piece!
😉Great piece! Bravo!👏🏼Thank you very much for sharing. 🙏 All the best and happy writing.