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If You Didn’t Love Reading Before You See This, You’ll Love It After

If You Didn’t Love Reading Before You See This, You’ll Love It After

Most people seem to feel like they need to be reading more, but they might not really know why. There are plenty of good reasons to read, so start by reading this list and get inspired to add some books to your reading list.

Reading for Smarts

1. Reading gives you a bigger vocabulary. That seems pretty obvious, but it’s grounded in scientific fact. People who read have larger vocabularies than people who don’t, and tend to have better verbal skills as well.

2. You’ll write better. Absorbing all those words and how they’re put together makes it easier for you to put words together in a pleasing way, too. Which may be why reading more is common advice for people who want to be writers.

3. It’s a great way to learn. Whether you want to learn to cook a soufflé, understand a Civil War battle or take apart the engine of a ’65 Mustang, you can learn from a book.

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4. Reading improves your analytical thinking skills. Deciphering the meaning of literary allusions, plot twists or even non-fiction makes you a better thinker.

5. It’s good for your brain. Reading requires concentration, focus on narrative and use of the imagination, all of which give the brain a workout and can help keep it young. Reading regularly can improve your memory, help forge new synapses and may help prevent Alzheimer’s.

6. Reading can help you achieve your goals, not just through learning, but by inspiring you. If you read stories about business success or people who have lived their dreams, you’ll be more inspired to reach for you own goals.

Reading for Understanding

7. It teaches you to be human. Great works of literature and poetry open you to experiences and feelings you haven’t had, and research shows that may make you more empathetic toward other people.

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8. It shows you other worlds. Whether those are literal or figurative doesn’t really matter; books take you places you could never go in your own life, which broadens your horizons in its own way.

9. It helps you see other people’s perspectives. A good book is the closest we can get to being in another person’s skin, and it can help us understand the real people in our lives a little better.

10. Reading can give you a new perspective. Here I’m not just talking about getting to peer into different worlds, but the fact that reading about life situations similar to your own may give you a different perspective on things. Whether you need help navigating a breakup or dealing with your parents, there’s a book for that.

Life Benefits of Reading

11. Reading is sexy. A study at Northwestern found that women rated intelligence as one of the most important features in a person they might have a relationship with, regardless of whether they were thinking short-term fling or life partner.

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12. It’s a mood booster. People who read regularly report lower stress levels than those who do not. It’s a great way to take a break from your worries and immerse yourself in another world, if only temporarily.

13. It makes you a more engaged person. Research from the National Endowment for the Arts found that people who read regularly are also more likely to vote and be engaged in their communities than people who don’t.

14. It feels good. It’s fun to escape into different worlds, to take a break from your own life and wind down after a hard day.

15. It can make you more creative. Reading a lot of stories can make it easier for you to come up with your own (see number 2), but it also seems to boost creativity in other non-verbal areas of life, too.

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16. Reading an engrossing book on the treadmill may keep you at your workout longer. Just make sure to perch the book on the holder rather than trying to hold it while you exercise.

17. It builds self-esteem. If you feel smart and like you should be valued for your knowledge, it will make you more confident.

18. It gives you something to talk about. And if you’re trying to hook someone who thinks smart is sexy, talking about the last book you read will score you more points than talking about the latest episode of Big Brother.

19. Moral superiority. It’s probably not in any way true, but being a reader makes you feel like a better person compared to non-readers.

20. Reading is really cheap entertainment. If you go to the library, reading costs you nothing. Even if you buy books or e-books, it’s still cheaper to entertain yourself for a month than a cable subscription would be.

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Sarah White

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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