Discover How Reading Magnifies Your Soul
“No matter how busy you think you are, you must find time to read, or surrender to self-chosen ignorance.”
Those were the words of Confucius centuries ago. However, with the passage of time, we’ve discovered that reading is much more than just a source of knowledge.
Philosophers, writers, scientists and psychologists, among other specialists, have all applauded the benefits of reading. After years of study and experience, many well-known minds have shown us that reading is so much more than simply accessing an informative, entertaining or imaginative world. It is an act that enhances your soul.
To read, according to Ángel Gabilondo
Ángel Gabilondo is the former Spanish minister of education. However, before he entered politics, he was a well-known philosophy professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid. For Gabilondo, reading is as important as eating or keeping your body in shape. According to the professor, a good selection of books is as important as a healthy choice of food.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
Gabilondo believes that reading is as important as living. The act of reading creates, recreates and is capable of even transforming reality. So much so that the Greeks and Romans considered it an activity that had to be done every day.
The benefits of reading, according to Emili Teixidor
Emili Teixidor is a Spanish author who has written works like Reading and Life. For Teixidor, just as bread feeds your body, words feed your brain. Every written word gives life to your mind.
In addition, he also discusses other – perhaps more prosaic, but equally necessary – benefits. For example, when we read it encourages concentration skills. After all, apart from the fact that it does require some training, it is an activity that helps promote the development of our brain.
Thus, even though our brain tends to lose focus sometimes, Teixido believes that reading helps improve human capacities for survival by encouraging concentration. Our hunter ancestors needed their full attention to be able to eat. Thus, the act of reading facilitates this attention.
Reading and science
There is also research that has even delved deeper into the effects of reading. When we read, we activate the left hemisphere of our brain, causing some areas to achieve intense activation. This happens so naturally that it impacts intellectual development, creating more neurons in the minds of readers, says Stanislas Dehaene, neurologist at the College de France.
Other interesting studies have shown that illiterate people actually hear worse than readers. Neuroscientist Alexandre Castro-Caldas from the Catholic University of Portugal discovered this.
By reading, our brain activates the same areas that would be activated if we were doing the action taking place in the real word. That is, we recreate what we imagine. This is clear from the University of Washington’s Nicole K. Speer’s study. Thus, the actions registered in the text are actually integrated into our personal knowledge with a weight similar to that of a past experience.
In addition, psychologist Raymond Mar from the University of Toronto has proven that readers are more empathetic. In fact, those who read novels improve this ability even more than those who focus on specialized literature or don’t read at all.
Other studies on reading
A very interesting study was carried out at the University of Oxford. They discovered that people who read for pure pleasure usually have more professional success. In fact, those who read during adolescence increase their chances of reaching maturity.
“He who loves reading has everything at his fingertips.”
Another interesting detail is related to neurodegenerative diseases. Believe it or not, reading is an excellent exercise to delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This discovery was pointed out by Dr. Pablo Martinez-Lage at the Spanish Neurology Society.
If all of these reasons aren’t enough, just read for the pure joy of it. When you read it magnifies your soul, entertains you, amuses you and creates imaginary worlds full of passion and charm. So if you don’t do it for your psychological and physical good, read for the simple joy of having a good time. It’s as simple as that.