As some of you know, I wasn’t the biggest reader before Kim started this blog. Yes, I read occasionally for fun, and sometimes I have to do some reading for work and school (believe me, reading scientific literature is like wading through concrete sometimes). Other than this however, I really didn’t read much. Once Kim began blogging and distributing the multiple book review requests out to myself and others, the amount of reading that I did increased. It was slow going at first, and I almost felt as if I needed to learn how to read again. I found myself rereading passages often, not really absorbing the information. Other times I felt as if I was skimming, skipping words here and there or finding myself in the middle of a paragraph without knowing how I got there. Yes, I know this sounds a bit strange, but it makes sense considering the changes my brain had to deal with at the time. In thinking of the science of it (yes, I always think about science), I realized that my brain was changing from a math/formulaic centered approach, with my work and class taking the primary role. However, this infusion of literature really threw my brain for a loop. Now that it’s adjusted, however, I feel slightly different.
It’s almost as if I’ve re-centered my way of thinking. My vocabulary, on paper and in person, has improved. I’ve been less forgetful, and I’ve had a bit of an easier time remembering what I’ve read and learned. I know it sounds strange to attribute all of these improvements to reading more, yet it really is the only discernible difference that has happened in my life in this particular time period. I still have the same job, classes, friends, etc. I really do think that increased reading has helped me refocus my brain. Now I wouldn’t call this some sort of crazy cure-all, but I’m beginning to understand why researchers always extol the benefits of word games or puzzles as we age. This “mind exercise” helps keep us sharp, and wards off the creeping threat of dementia and Alzheimer’s as we age. So, what can you do to get in on the action? You don’t need to go crazy and read a ton more, just increase your mental workout slightly and keep at it. If you didn’t read the newspaper or news online before, now is the time to start. Never tried a crossword or Sudoku before? Give it a shot. I promise, as long as you are consistent, you’ll actually begin to notice a few changes. Good luck! Now, what was I doing before I decided to write this… (just kidding).