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8 Amazing Things Would Happen If You Have A Reading Plan

8 Amazing Things Would Happen If You Have A Reading Plan

Even though many of us do most of our reading in the form of texts or Facebook posts, there are good reasons to pick up an actual book on a regular basis. Reading—specifically, reading real books—has been linked to a wide range of mental, physical, and social health benefits. It’s easy to reap these rewards; simply develop a consistent reading plan and stick to it. Need some convincing? Here’s what to expect when you become an avid reader.

You’ll keep your brain in top shape

Research has found that reading stimulates the brain and helps prevent cognitive decline, thereby helping the brain function properly for the long term (avid readership may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease). This may be partly because from a neurobiological perspective, reading is more challenging than looking at images or listening to a speech or audio book. That means that we have to focus, concentrate, and rely on memory recall in the pursuit of new knowledge—all of which gives the brain a workout. In other words? Reading is one of the most affordable and accessible brain boosters. The earlier you become a regular reader, the greater the benefits later in life, so pick up a book ASAP.

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You’ll be motivated to accomplish goals

Research out of Ohio State University found that reading about a character or person who overcame obstacles can motivate you to do the same, reports Reader’s Digest. Looking to hike the Appalachian Trail or finally quit that soul-sucking job? Reading about people who already accomplished those goals can make you more likely to follow through.

You’ll become more empathetic

Multiple studies have confirmed that reading fiction that “emotionally transports” you into another world, character, or perspective can boost your ability to understand or identify with the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of other people. And that means you’ll be better able to form meaningful relationships (or at least cut telemarketers some slack).

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You’ll reduce stress

In one study, reading was found to be one of the most effective ways to eliminate stress (It proved even more effective than listening to music, taking a walk, or drinking a cup of tea). That may be partly because reading helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol. It only took participants six minutes of reading before they started to relax, so dive into a paperback if you’re ever in need of a quick pick-me-up.

You’ll fall asleep easier

Developing a calming bedtime routine is helpful for anyone looking to fall asleep faster and get better quality shut-eye. For better sleep, ditch alcohol, electronics, and cigarettes before bed and pick up a book instead—reading is a great way to unwind and relax before turning off the light.

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You’ll become more interesting

Reading allows us to learn new things, gain fresh perspectives, and expand our minds. And that means readers can not only teach themselves new skills or knowledge, but also share it with other people. It certainly beats talking about the weather.

You’ll be more satisfied with your life

One survey found that adults who read for a minimum of 30 minutes a week were 20 percent more likely to report feeling satisfied with their lives and also reported having higher self-esteem and greater self-acceptance than non-readers. The survey’s authors theorized that this is partly because reading can help us feel less alone by connecting us to other people’s experiences. In fact, the same survey found that readers tend to be more socially engaged and appreciative of cultural diversity than non-readers—all of which can infuse a life with more meaning.

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You’ll save money

The average novel costs around $13 for a new paperback version; you’ll spend even less if you shop at used book stores. Compare that to the money spent on other forms of entertainment such as eating out, sporting events, or nights out at the bar. That’s not to say that you need to become a hermit, but swapping in the occasional reading night for other, more expensive entertainment options will give your wallet a break.

Convinced? If you’re ready to become a reader but aren’t sure how to begin, start by choosing books or genres that interest you the most (and don’t be embarrassed if that includes romance novels or self-help books). It can also be helpful to cancel cable TV or your Netflix account (gasp!), to schedule in reading time on your calendar, or to join a book group so that other people can help hold you accountable to your reading goals. However you choose to approach it, developing a reading plan will do your mind and body good.

Featured photo credit: Moyan Brenn via flickr.com

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Kenny Kline

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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