Freeman Cebu Business

The Reading Mind

INTEGRITY BEAT - Henry Schumacher - The Freeman

I’ve always loved reading. Novels, history books, magazines, and newspapers. Reading has shaped the way I think and see the world in ways I cannot even fathom.

I want to collect all the benefits of this uniquely human ability. And it turns out – reading is VERY good for our brain.

The Reading Mind

Humans are the only animals capable of reading, an invention that’s only been around for a few thousand years. That’s nowhere near enough time for our brains to have evolved dedicated circuitry for reading. And yet, somehow, specific brain areas are consistently associated with reading across different cultures.

This puzzle, known as the “reading paradox”, has fascinated scientists for a while. How do humans learn to read in such a way that the same brain regions are activated regardless of where we grow up, and despite the fact that reading is too modern to be the product of evolution? And what benefits can we get from regularly activating those parts of our brain by reading everyday?

Reading is a natural activity

Rather than evolving entirely new brain circuits, reading likely piggybacks on systems that were originally designed for other purposes, such as brain regions that were initially devoted to recognizing visual patterns in nature.

For instance, the ability to distinguish between the shapes of different leaves or animals in nature may be repurposed to help us differentiate between letters such as b and d. Through exposure and practice, the brain’s existing circuitry is “recycled” for the task of reading text.

This means that reading is a natural activity for our brains. Our ancestors used to rely on their pattern recognition skills to read nature and now we use those same abilities to read text. And reading is actually great for our cognitive health and well-being.

Why you should read everyday

Because it actively engages your brain, reading is one of the healthiest hobbies for your mind. Not only is reading educational and informative, which is beneficial in itself, but it also rewires the connections in your brain, leading to many benefits.

Stress reduction.

Mental stimulation.

Memory improvement.

Vocabulary expansion.

Better focus.

Improved brain connectivity.

Stronger analytical skills

How to cultivate a reading habit

There are lots of other techniques to read more, but many rely on strong willpower or accountability, which may not be practical for everyone. Instead, here are three simple tips you can experiment with right away to make a habit of reading more:

Pick a book you’ll enjoy.

Set a reading time and place.

Reading can bring a lot of goodness to your brain and to your life. So next time you have a bit of free time, consider picking up a book instead of scrolling through videos on social media. And encourage your loved ones to read more—their brains will thank you.

In conclusion, let’s add active listening to the reading exercises. In the area of social sensemaking, active listening takes centerstage. Pay close attention not only to the words being spoken but also how others process information – from reading to speaking. The ability to discern patterns, identify key influencers and understand underlying dynamics contributes significantly to a more comprehensive sensemaking process – from reading to listening and speaking.

Please let me have your feedback; email me at [email protected]

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