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7 Reasons Writing Is So Good for Our Brains

7 Reasons Writing Is So Good for Our Brains

Through our technology dependence, from smartphones to laptops, we seem to have a keyboard attached to our fingertips at all times. Have you thought about the last time you wrote something by hand? Research shows that our brains benefit from handwriting in multiple ways.

I talked with Dr. Marc Seifer, a graphologist, expert in handwriting, and the author of The Definitive Book of Handwriting Analysis (published in 2008). According to Seifer, the following are the main ways in which handwriting helps our brains.

1. Handwriting has a soothing effect

By writing a soothing sentence, we exercise a type of graphotherapy, says Seifer. Writing down something like, “I will be more serene” twenty times every day may, in fact, exert an effect, particularly in people with attention deficit disorder.

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“This makes the person calmer and rewires the brain,” he adds.

2. Handwriting coordinates the brain’s hemispheres

Writing something in cursive, as outdated as it feels, coordinates the brain’s hemispheres. However, the depth with which we use the two parts of our brain differs from person to person. Don’t confuse cursive with writing your signature, though!

3. Handwriting boosts learning

Handwriting notes is one of the best ways to study and acquire new knowledge. The reason is that writing by hand stimulates a part of the brain called the RAS, or the Reticular Activating System. According to Lifehacker, the RAS filters all information that needs processing by the brain, prioritizing the things in your immediate focus at the time of writing. This is boosted by the physical act of writing. A 2010 study showed the areas of the brain that are related to learning were stimulated much more when children were requested to jot down words like “spaceship,” instead of simply focusing on the word.

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4. Handwriting will keep distractions away

Your computer is a master at wasting your time, either by enticing you to look at pictures of cats or stalk your exes. Distractions are the reason software like Minutes Please and Facebook Limiter exists. Having said that, there are good things on the internet as well. A study in 2012 suggested that 5-minute breaks to browse BuzzFeed or Tumblr may even boost your productivity at work. However, when you are done with GIFs and you can’t escape working on your dissertation again, try doing it with a pen and paper. You will appreciate the lack of distraction that is all too common on the internet.

5. Handwriting keeps aging minds sharp

Handwriting is an awesome tool for baby boomers who want to retain their minds’ sharpness as they age. “Writing by hand helps to keep the mind dexterous and assists in solidifying memories,” says Kelsey Poe, Director of Marketing & Sales at CMP. “Keeping a handwritten journal can really sharpen aging minds and boost memories.”

6. Handwriting enhances memory

Let’s assume you are in class, taking notes. Perhaps it will be quicker to use your laptop, but have you considered that jotting your notes by hand may enhance your ability to remember all that information later? According to many psychologists, handwriting better enhances memory, an effect that is evident in both children and adults.

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“There is considerable research showing that among developing children, the ones who write by hand have stronger memory,” said Seifer.

7. Handwriting activates your brain more than typing does

Handwriting makes you use more of your brain. The regions of the brain that are associated with reading are stimulated while writing by hand only, and not while texting or typing.

“One of the key differences is movement. That implicates the brain’s motor cortex, so … you are activating a larger portion of your brain than when simply typing,” said Seifer.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr Financial Times photos via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

10 Best Success Books You Need to Read to Be Great at Business

10 Best Success Books You Need to Read to Be Great at Business

Take a minute and think about some of the most successful people you know.

I’d bet they’re great with people, are super-productive, and think differently than most. After all, that’s how they got to be where they are today.

Jealous of them? You don’t have to be.

You can learn these same skills by studying some of the best business and success books that can help you take your game to the next level. Here’re 10 of my favorites:

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book that helped to launch a personal growth empire should be required reading for everyone who wants to learn how to build and nurture relationships for a lifetime.

    Read this book and you’ll learn some simple advice than can help you build popularity points within your current network and just as important, expand it to others.

    Get the book here!

    2. Focal Point by Brian Tracy

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      Got a lot on your to-do list? Of course you do. But what separates productive people from others is their ability to focus on a singular task at a time, and getting it done before moving on to the next one.

      Sounds simple in theory, but this can be extremely difficult in practice. In Focal Point Brian Tracy offers tips to help build discipline and organization into your day so you can get more stuff done.

      Get the book here!

      3. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

        Creating a “me-too” product can be easy at the start but can doom you to business failure. That’s why marketing maverick Seth Godin recommends creating a product that is truly different from anything already available in the marketplace.

        In essence by making the product different you’ll be building the marketing into the actual product development…which just makes your actual marketing a helluva lot easier.

        Get the book here!

        4. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

          If you’ve struggled with procrastination or small thinking, this is the book for you. In it Schwartz offers practical advice that can help you get inspired and motivated to create a bigger life for yourself. And with it can be a more lucrative and rewarding career.

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          Get the book here!

          5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel

            It can be difficult for lots of people to keep things in perspective, especially when working on high priority and urgent projects at work.

            Man’s Search for Meaning can be a life-changing book in the sense that it can open your eyes to a first-hand experience of one of the greatest atrocities in the history of mankind, while also teaching a valuable lesson about having purpose.

            Get the book here!

            6. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

              Solo-entrepreneurs can learn a ton from the guy who made lifestyle design popular. But guess what? The 4HWW isn’t just for guys and girls who want to start a small online business.

              Smart moves like outsourcing, following the 80/20 rule, and automating processes should be made by entry-level workers and established executives alike.

              Get the book here!

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              7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

                I remember sitting on a couch and opening this book on a Saturday morning, thinking I’d get through a chapter and then get on with my day. Instead, about 12 hours later, I was finished with the book. The concepts in it were mind-blowing to me.

                To think that thoughts can create your reality sounded a little far-fetched at first. But after going through the book and understanding that your thoughts create your beliefs, which lead to actions, which then lead to habits….well you can get where I’m going with this.

                If you focus your thoughts on success, achieving it will be much more likely than thinking about obstacles, failures and everything else that can get in your way.

                Get the book here!

                8. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard

                  If you’re going to read one management book in your life, this should be it. It’s simple. You can read it in an afternoon. And the advice works.

                  Get the book here!

                  9. The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries

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                    Before you create any sort of business you’ll want to give Lean Start-Up a read through. Doing so can save you money, time and other resources you could have potentially wasted otherwise.

                    Get the book here!

                    10. The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar

                      The story Randy Komisar shares in the Monk and the Riddle offers advice about not just about how you need to think when starting a new business, but also about how to build a life you’re passionate about.

                      Understanding the technical aspects of launching a start-up is great, but if you don’t have the staying power to stick with it when the going gets tough then it’s not likely to work.

                      This book can help you understand this lesson before you spend blood, sweat and tears on a project that you’re heart isn’t into.

                      Get the book here!

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