Books – Food for Soul -Fahmida Mehreen
Books. By definition, they refer to a written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers. It is a source of information. Now, books can be non-fictional, edited non-fictional, reference books and fictional books. Each kind has its specialty and purpose. Going into the further breakdown of fictional books, they can be classified based on the genre – action and adventure, classics, comic or graphics novel, mystery and thriller, fantasy, historical fiction, horror, literary fiction, etc.
According to science, it has been proven time and again that immersing oneself in books can refresh one’s mind. While reading a book, your mind will bloom and open up to different perspectives. Reading does not only improves memory and empathy but also instills positive feelings. Besides many other advantages, it is mentionable that reading books can help fight depression, stress, even Alzheimer’s in the later stage of life.
There are different ways in which reading helps our mind and soul. Different types of content at different stages in life have varying impacts. The way fantasy will impact a child or teenager’s mind will not be the same with a reference reading or literary piece on an adult’s mind. Researches have shown that reading complex poetry activates different parts of the brain and helps the brain be elastic. The ability to retain information also improves when a person reads something where there is a lot to remember starting from the plot to the characters. For example, while reading the different books from the Harry Potter series, a person has to be reminiscent about a whole array of events that includes countless characters. The plots and subplots are intertwined with each other, and in order to stay on the read, it is required by the reader to retain as much information as possible. As new points come about in a story, new memory is created in the brain, and existing memory is strengthened. This improves short term memory and recalling capabilities. The brain is like a muscle. The best way to make it function is to exercise the muscle through expansion that will pull up its power, in which reading plays a crucial role.
From different sources, it has come under the limelight that people suffering from depression have shown signs of improvement when they have been more engaged in reading. Self-help books help people to regain their mental strength while suffering from depression. When they read stories aloud, they tend to feel positive and confident about themselves. Researches have shown that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. For older people, mentally challenging games like crosswords and jigsaw improve memory retention and make it far less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and brain degeneration.
Now, coming to children – kids who have regular reading practice tend to have a creative mind. They are able to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in different scenarios, relate cause and effect and use good judgments. It has been seen that children who develop the habit of reading before preschool are more likely to adapt to the different situations in physical school or formal education. Reading enables children to learn at least 50% more words than by watching television or YouTube. The question is, how the adults as parents or family members can influence children to read? Well, children are more likely to learn by seeing. If the parents demonstrate their reading habit to the children, the kids will automatically pick up the habit. Making bedtime story reading a ritual can help children massively. This will also help to reduce children’s screen-time and improve their concentration and eye-sight.
Understanding the different phenomenon in a book and the different traits of a character can help people understand different real-life personalities. If a person reads about a shy person and how he acts and reacts in a book, the reader will be able to better deal with a shy person and bring the best out of them. Reading a book does not necessarily be a cozy activity. It can be on the go at any time. It is an activity that makes a person sharper, happier, and better able to maintain relationships. It is needless to say that reading and writing have rewired human brains and human civilizations over centuries.
There are different strategies that you may follow to develop your reading skills. First and foremost, you have to build the practice of detaching yourself from lucrative devices like cellphones and televisions. They tend to trigger the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in our brains, which distracts us from paying attention. Even though the devices are designed to be addictive, we have to pull out ourselves from them in order to make our brains more functional. It is nearly impossible to stay focused on a book and retain its contents while constantly swiping the newsfeed of social media. Hence, it is best to follow the age-old practice – out of sight, out of mind. The question may come what to do about e-books? That will require your full dedication not to go back to the social media tab while reading. You should absolutely zone out from it even when you have the device in hand. It will require immense willpower.
It is not necessary that you have to read for hours after hours. You can read for short intervals. Let’s say you are at work and have some resting time after lunch. Rather than catering to the lethargic feeling, choose a quick read and go through it. Once you feel energized enough, you can get back to work. You can read on your way to work or while standing in the line at the coffee shop. Make reading a habit, and the time will automatically get managed.
Another very important factor while reading is choosing the right material. You have to be very thoughtful about what you are picking to read. Let’s say you had a rough workday and you are feeling drained. Reading something melancholic at that point will end up making you feel worse. Rather than that, it will be wise to read something more light-hearted like graphical comics or fantasy – basically something that will divert your brain, and by the time you hit the bed, your brain will be well relaxed, and you’d be able to get a good night’s sleep.
You may say that finding the right book is a difficult task. It’s true that there are uncountable titles to choose from. If you are indecisive, you can see what your friends or coworkers are reading and see if that interests you. Try to pick up conversation about books with people. You will have a better understanding of what is trending. Try to recharge your brain by absorbing more information, and there is no alternative way.
In this new year, make a list of all the books you have always wanted to read but couldn’t make time. Start with one at a time and experience a whole new adventure. Happy reading! n