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6 Ways Reading Comics Makes You Smarter

6 Ways Reading Comics Makes You Smarter

Those who read comic books are sometimes scrutinized for being nerds, but the truth is that this is nothing to be ashamed of. Comics encompass both fact and fiction to share stories of extraordinary heroes as well as true events that are easy to digest, even for those who may be struggling to read or comprehend certain types of material.

The Stories Benefit Your Brain

When you read stories, the brain function will actually change. When an individual reads a compelling story in their comic book, their neuron activity will change while they are reading as well as for a few days after the reading has finished. Even when incorporating historical information, comic books are great stories that pull the reader in, thanks to their illustrations.

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You Will Learn to Love Reading

There are so many people in the world that have a hard time improving their reading skills, young and old alike. The visual format of graphic novels and comics can benefit these individuals greatly. When reading material appears to be boring or challenging, comic books are a great solution. The visuals along with the characters and plots can be easier to engage with for those that are struggling to read. Reading comic books allow readers to process information a little differently than other forms of media like novels. The illustrations can help readers to comprehend information that would otherwise be hard to digest, like educational information including history.

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You Will Begin to Think Differently

Comic book readers are made to create meaning from the text using “multiple modalities”. This means that all of the components of a comic book are integrated in order to form one solid understanding of the story. The text, space, and images all make up these modalities that the reader will incorporate. Many times, comic book readers also love television and video games for the same reason that they like comic books, but comic books actually require a more complex neurological process. Critics will say that comic books are as simple as picture books, but they are much more than that.

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Comic Books Are Cool

All of the most watched television and movies are based on comic books—Superman, Batman, Wolverine, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are all obvious options, but did you know that The Walking Dead and Men in Black are also based on comic books? The adaptations of these types of stories capture the box office because people love superheroes, and superheroes originate from comic books. The culture that surrounds comic books is vast, and what is more interesting than exploring the origins of something that you love? Comic conventions and TV/movie adaptations of comics will only fuel this still growing niche society.

There Are More Than Just Superhero Stories

Even if superheroes aren’t your thing, comic books are still a winner. There are so many more stories in comics like previously mentioned The Walking Dead, The Sandman, and Scott Pilgrim. On the flip side, comics or graphic novels that include nonfiction themes like Persepolis allow the reader to explore themes that are a bit heavier. The variety of comic books that are available on the market ensures that there is something for everyone, even those who have never picked up a comic in their life.

The Language Used is Quite Advanced

It is a myth that comic books hold language that is not advanced, and nothing is farther from the truth. A study done by Cunningham and Stanovich uncovered that the language used in comic book often times exceeds that of oral communication of college graduates. All individuals should be provided with reading materials regardless of their own achievement levels, and it is no secret that those who are spending a lot of time reading will have a higher verbal intelligence and it will also make them smarter all around. The idea that comic books are only for those who have a lower reading level is completely false, and conversely, comic books can actually help those who do have a lower reading level to practice with material that will actually interest them.

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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