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If You Want To Read More Books To Largely Improve Your Life, Learn These 4 Tricks

If You Want To Read More Books To Largely Improve Your Life, Learn These 4 Tricks

Entertaining, informational, and sometimes even funny, books can be the catalyst that changes your life. You can stack them up by your bedside, carry them around in your backpack, but they won’t part their pertinent information until you actually open them and start reading. Some people spend hours engrossed in the pages of a book, while others dread opening one. Your life will not change until you do, and to get that useful information downloaded into your brain, here are 4 tips suggested by Writer, Patrick Allen at Lifehacker[1] to help ease your way through reading.

4 Tips to Help You Read Better and Read More

Not everyone has the luxury of 5 spare hours to dedicate to reading, but the good news is that there are ways around that problem. However, before you invest in a speed reading course, this is not one of them! There’s no magic pill to swallow or formula to make you read faster- in fact, studies[2] show that increased speed reading decreases comprehension, but there are other proven ways that can help you read more and read better.

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1. Read in Intervals

When your book is fun or entertaining, it’s easy to read, but faced with a challenging text on understanding the stock market, the psychology of anything or the science of bees, keeping your focus on your book can prove to be an arduous task and your willpower breaks down fast. The trick is to read in 20-minute intervals and take 5-10 minute breaks between your reading sprints. Don’t sit and rest during these short breaks, but get up and move. It prevents you from falling asleep too if your book isn’t keeping you stimulated enough, and you have to face it, some books are just boring. Set a timer to help you stick to the intervals and be sure to remove all distractions.

Even the slightest distraction will draw you away from the page, so you must eliminate these temptations from the beginning. Turn off the television. Switch your phone to silent. Find a quiet place to read, far from everyone. A little corner of the library, outside under a tree, or a good place with bright lighting. If the noise around you is still too much, wear a pair of noise canceling headphones. But don’t make your little reading nook so comfortable that you are tempted to fall asleep!

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2. Use Audio Books

Yes, audio books are not actual reading, but they still get the information from the page to the inside of your head.  Audio books make the perfect alternative for the busy person who is always on the move. You can listen to them when you are jogging, driving your car, doing yard work or cleaning the house. How does it work? You can download an audio book app to your device, or alternately access audio books through iBooks or Kindle app. Plug some earbuds in and fire it up. Not all books are available in audio format, so double check before you commit your book report if your plan is to exercise your way through the book.

3. Use Your Phone

People naturally scoop up their phones these days. Sometimes it’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you touch before going to bed at night. Make this habit work for you by downloading your book onto your phone. And instead of scrolling through your Facebook feed or checking your likes on Instagram, open up your book on your phone and read. You were going to have that phone in your hand anyway!

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The beauty of reading on your phone is that you can adjust the font size and the brightness to better suit your eyes. Sometimes you can even change the font style to one that is easier to read. You can’t do that with a paperback!  However, some books may be difficult to find on your phone, like text books.

A great place to locate free classics is through Project Gutenberg[3], which offers over 53,000 free public domain books, which they have put into ebook format. Another often overlooked place to obtain ebooks from is through your local public library system. All you need is your library card since it’s free!

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4. Don’t Read Word by Word in Your Head

A final note on reading. Now that you’ve gotten the ball rolling, if you find yourself mouthing the words or reading them in your head- stop. Believe it or not, this practice does not benefit you and actually slows down your reading because your brain is concentrating on pronouncing the words, rather than just reading them. How many times have you looked at a word, known exactly what it was, or what it means in context, but when pronouncing it out loud, you get flustered or stumble over the syllables? You can always keep a pen and paper handy and jot down those incomprehensible words to look up later, but save the pronunciation for your next Toastmasters’ speech and concentrate on the gist of the words rather than each word separately.

If you find it too much of a challenge not to mouth the words, give your mouth a job to do. Chew some gum or ice. Eat a snack.

These 4 easy tips to follow will help you tackle your reading list, even if you have to rake the leaves or rush to the store for a gallon of milk. There’s a wealth of information in books just waiting to be discovered. What are you waiting for? Improve your life today.

Featured photo credit: Makunin via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] Lifehacker: How to Read an Entire Book in a Single Day
[2] PsychologicalScience.org: So Much to Read, So Little Time
[3] Project Gutenberg: Free E-Books

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Sally White

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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