Every season it seems, there is a new biohack or way to improve your brain health through a new technology.
What if the secret to boosting your brain health wasn’t something new? And rather, something simple as well?
Thankfully, it is!
Kristen Willeumer Ph.D., neuroscientist, and author of Biohack Your Brain, suggests:
“the number one thing I think people need to do more of is long-form reading, 15-30 minutes of picking up any kind of book.
When the brain learns, it forms cognitive maps. So the more reading you’re doing as you age will keep your brain sharp.”
And this is the most important book you should be reading.
Easier said than done though, right?
Below you will find out how reading is able to help your development and some suggestions on how to fit reading into your routine.
Reading and development
As a parent, reading out loud to your child can help them develop active listening habits and introduce language into their lives.
Children then are able to take what they are learning and apply empathy to others, create storylines, and open a dialogue of interest in many subjects to increase growth.
Young adults and young professionals are able to take subject interest to help advance the world through research and study.
Then as older adults, we are able to learn and grow from their knowledge while also keeping our mind and memory sharp as we slow the cognitive decline that comes along with aging.
It is clear that no matter what stage of development you’re at, reading is able to help benefit you throughout the entirety of your life.
Non-fiction vs. fiction
Non-fiction is based on truth and fact which comes with a sense of learning no matter the subject.
This can help increase your cognitive function, logical reasoning, and deeper understanding of complex issues or situations.
The left brain is great for understanding this knowledge and until recently, it was suggested that non-fiction was the best route for cognitive growth.
That was until recent research suggests that reading works of fiction can dramatically improve your language skills, improve creativity, and increase your imagination.
Fiction is also known to allow the reader to indulge in fantasy which is able to decrease the stressors of everyday life that one is experiencing.
The benefits of reading
Outside of reducing ones stress levels, the benefits of reading include:
- Improved language skills
- Improved cognitive functioning and reasoning
- Better Memory Functioning as you Age
- Slowing of Cognitive Decline
- Increased Creativity and Imagination
- Greater Ability to Be Present/ In The Moment
- Overall Improved Outlook on Life
Reading has vast outcomes when in relation to our holistic health, and it is great that you’re able to experience all of these in just 15 minutes a day!
Creating a reading routine
Each individual’s needs and desires are different, therefore every routine will be different. It’s important to find out what works best for you and your lifestyle as you’re implementing this habit to where you’re able to stick with it.
- Choose a Time that Fits BEST For You
Some people prefer to read in the morning, some people prefer the evening before they go to bed.
Whichever is best for you, start your routine around that time.
You’ll be able to add to it later, and you can pick up your book whenever you’d like otherwise, but hold yourself accountable to either 15 minutes in the morning or evening to begin.
- Choose Books that Interest You
As you read above, you will receive different benefits based on your decision towards a non-fiction or fiction book, but that doesn’t mean that you’re missing out based on this choice.
By choosing books based on topics that interest you, it’ll be easier for you to implement this habit into your routine as you’ll be looking forward to what’s coming next.
Choose whatever feels best for you now as you develop this habit, and then challenge yourself down the road.
- Reward Yourself & Relax
By implementing your new reading routine, create a ritual of relaxation and of rewarding yourself as you begin to read.
Brewing a cup of coffee in the morning or tea in the evening, wearing something comfortable, pushing the distractions aside, and creating an environment that allows you to take in all the benefits of your book and your new reading routine will make it more enjoyable for you over time.
Once you’re able to create such an environment for yourself, whenever you’re tense or stress, you’ll be able to fall into this environment to help get yourself back on track.
It all starts by creating time for yourself to read, choosing a book that interests you, and creating an environment that you look forward to being in.
Improving your brain health and cognitive functioning doesn’t have to be a new or difficult biohack.
It can be as simple as reading for 15-30 minutes per day.
By implementing a reading routine, no matter the stage of development you’re in, you’ll begin to experience results that over time will help you live a longer, more fulfilling life.