Who we are, what we do and what we can do, is largely determined by how well our minds and our brains function.
Our interests, the habits we form and the passion we have inside us are all contained within and are determined by the quality of our minds and brains. How we carry those out in the real world is only limited or made possible by our physical body through either its limitations, the improvements we made to it, its inherent strengths or all of the above.
Studies conducted by experts reveal that visualization or the act of conjuring up images or activities within our minds activate the same neural pathways used during the actual physical activity. Say for an instance that you visualize yourself to run a 50-meter track. Images of the brain during the actual activity and during visualization exhibit almost identical activities. On a larger scale, when a mind is subjected to literature, our brain shares experience with the characters of the book even without actually experiencing them. Thus, our minds are more equipped to deal with those.
The ability of the book to influence our lives extends to other areas. The following are some of the benefits of reading fiction books:
1. Reading fiction gives us insights of how the minds of others work.
While we read, fiction allows us to have a peak of the subjective world of the characters (and the author through his or her narrations and writing styles). Thus, you gain social expertise or the ability to deal with other people more effectively by reading fiction in the same way that reading non-fictions such as history, mathematics or sciences allows you to gain strength in those disciplines.
2. Literature gives an opportunity to explore one’s personality.
The way a story is written through expressions and personal opinions allows a reader to experience emotional vicissitudes, thus temporarily destabilizing his or her personality. This gives a chance for him or her to explore their own personality. The reader experiences within his or her mind what the character experiences giving him or her insights and providing an opportunity for him or her to form solutions even without actually experiencing those.
3. Reading inspires creativity.
Literature is, most often, not accurately based upon actual events. Books are written in such a way that they transcend the monotonous and banal pattern of everyday life so that readers may gain interest. Without most of us noticing, the weaving of the story and the manner at which they are gradually unfolded are forms of art that inspire us to create and be creative, as well. They even draw out the best in us—the person we do not usually know we are until a story we read introduces him or her to us.
4. Reading stimulates the mind.
Like most creatures, the human body with its parts, including the brain, is subject to the law of use and disuse. Nature has its own reasons for developing the body parts we use often and diminish those we do not. Experts believe that close to a hundred thousand brain cells die every day due to misuse and disuse. That means, not only does our brain lose a minute fraction of efficiency, we also lose a part of ourselves. By constantly stimulating it through reading, we preserve our brain cells, their integrity and their efficiency.
5. Reading reduces stress.
Whoever you are, you are probably among the many who are constantly afflicted by stress from all daily sources. Stress has become a part of our daily lives—probably a consequence of the advancing world. It has greatly influenced how we live our lives and how we define ourselves. By effectively reducing or relieving stress through reading, we get a chance to redeem ourselves from being lost to this result-oriented world. We become more focused and we get to arrive at solutions more effectively.
The benefits of reading do not only end with those indicated above. Depending on a person, reading could have various benefits not mentioned here. While some do not like this activity, it is certainly one of those that can be learned and appreciated through constant and gradual practice. By gradually incorporating this activity to our daily lives and by choosing materials that we actually enjoy, we can develop this feat over time with ease.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yohana Petrovic is a writer and educator. Yohana has 10 years experience in educating and now she works as a freelance writer. You can reach her on Facebook: Yohana Petrovic or on Twitter: @YohanaPetrovic