How reading improves health and thinking

Megan Grams, Sports reporter

Photo c/o: The Odyssey

Popular opinion says that reading is not important for the development of the brain, but science proves this opinion wrong. Scientists and psychologists from universities all around have proven multiple reasons why reading is very important to the health, thinking, and emotions of humans.

Turns out reading is a big stress reliever. In 2009, studies done by the University of Sussix shows that when reading, stress levels are relieved by 68 percent. Reading for only thirty minutes a day can relieve more stress than a cup of tea or listening to music would. Scientists believe escapism and physical focus have this effect. When immersed in a book, the body is less focused on its tense muscles, and relaxes.

Studies done by Emory University show that people can feel metaphors. Studies by Emory University show that metaphors are actually more physical than they are thought to be. When people listened to the phrases “She had a rough day,” versus a phrase without a metaphor, “She had a bad day.” They then compared the MRI’s of the people upon hearing the metaphor. The part of the brain that activates when someone touches something lit up; people are genuinely feeling the metaphors that they read.

Reading fiction is proven to alter ethical and empathetic skills. When reading fiction, people immerse themselves into the life of another while seeing the world through their eyes. This has always been a good way to broaden one’s outlook on life. Now, science proves that it actually makes people more empathetic. A study done at Emory, shows that the subjects tested were more empathetic and emotionally intelligent, able to “feel” the movements of the characters in the movement areas of their own brains.

Poetry is a good tactic to use when studying or just remembering specific things in general.  Poetry, just like music, stimulates the right half of the brain which regulates emotion. Poetry also tends to send us into a self-reflective, memory-boosting state, mostly when reading poems we love. Poetry also lights up parts of the brain that concerns memory.


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