THAT’S WHY READING A BOOK CAN IMPROVE OUR “QUALITY OF LIFE”

by Ilio Masprone – Publisher-Knight of the Principality of Monaco for cultural merit

MONACO. That’s why we should all propose, for the year that has just begun, a “deep reading” of a book, in order to improve the quality of our life. Today, in a world dominated by media and the internet, there are infinite sources of distraction. Even just checking our email at work, we come across advertisements that can distract us with their bright colors and enticing messages. These days there’s always new information to consume. News alerts, magazine articles, email subscriptions, social media feeds and much more. It’s easy to get into the habit of skimming through it all, rather than really taking the time to read. But making time to curl up with a book for a couple of hours is well worth the time, and the science is here to show it. Reading reduces the stress, taking us on an adventure, and this happens because it engages not only the areas of the brain associated with language processing but also the areas associated with the actions about which we are reading. And, the more we read a piece of fiction ‘closely,’ the more we activate regions of the brain that are aligned to what the characters are both feeling and doing. For example, if you are reading about someone climbing a mountain, the associated areas of your brain will light up as though you yourself were climbing a mountain. When you read descriptions of delicious food or beautiful scenery, the areas of your brain associated with those senses light up as though you were really experiencing them. Reading is a way of submerging ourselves in a different world. It can be a necessary break in our day that allows us to forget our problems at work and at home, and temporarily escape the stressful situations in our lives. As a matter of facts, it’s a good idea to read before going to bed, because that way we’ll take our mind off our problems and manage to sleep more deeply. It improves our attention and concentration, so we can focus easier on the content. Like any other activity, concentration is partly a habit we form, so the more we read, the more we train our brain to stay focused. It helps improve our capacity for analytical thought. Often, when we get to the end of a book, we realize that we’ve already guessed at least some of the key elements of the denouement. That’s because our mind has been storing and analyzing the information the author has been giving us, and we’ve been trying to figure out where it was leading. This exercise of analyzing the plot and characters, drawing conclusions about the author’s intent and trying to predict the plot, carries over to real-life applications, too. It helps us understand other people better. Reading quality narrative fiction helps us see the world from different perspectives, helping us understand what other people might be thinking and feeling. That understanding tends to make us more empathetic towards other people in real life, not just in books. Also, reading is cheap entertainment. Although some books can be very expensive, there is always a public library we can visit to find a good book. Libraries have an unlimited number of options for us to explore that will transport us to other worlds. Last but not least, as Katia Ferrante and Maria Sole Ferrero outlined on 21 December 2019 in their website’s post, “12 BOOKS THAT 12 CEOS RECOMMEND TO READ THIS WINTER”, reading helps often to find the flash to earn more money we could imagine!

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