Reading feeds both mind, soul

Most people know that salmon is a recommended brain food. But our brains are hungry for more. The nutrition they crave goes beyond temporary nutrients. What to feed this vital organ? How about paper with a side of ink. Confused? Let me be more clear: books!

Andrea Mata

Mata is a marketing and management junior and staff columnist for The Shorthorn

Contrary to popular belief, reading is not just for children.

According to Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report, in 2015, 51 percent of kids ages 6 to 17 are frequent readers. According to National Endownment for the Arts studies, the reading rate for adults was 57 percent in 1982. That number has been deteriorating ever since. In 2015, the reading rate was 43 percent, a 14 percent decrease.

Now you might be thinking, ‘Hey, I read my textbooks every day.’ And while I’m glad you’re taking care of your studies, that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about reading for fun.

Personally, I take pleasure in reading about fictitious adventures. If you take to a different genre, that’s cool, too. (In fact, have any suggestions?) But as we get older, we tend to stop adding to our bookshelves.

Why the decline? Maybe it’s because the world seems to continuously demand more from us. Many of us are already busy trying to balance school, work, family, friends, church, gym workouts, etc. Our schedules are full.

So why add a book to that list?

You probably already knew that reading novels stimulates the mind, expands vocabulary and helps to improve memory. These are all important in maintaining a healthy and happy brain.

Did you know that reading can also help reduce stress? I speak from personal experience.

Reading allows me to fall into my own bubble. Books are the best way to temporarily leave all my woes behind.

It’s like a vacation for my brain, because at that moment, I am no longer a stressed-out college student. All of a sudden, I’m experiencing a new life, with new people and exciting adventures.

We can connect with characters and create worlds inside our minds.

With a book, you can fight in wars, fall in love, make friends and enemies, explore new lands and so much more. The experience doesn’t even have to end at the back cover. Books have a way of changing how you think, what you think about and even how you see the world.

This all sounds great, right?

Still, the question is: How do we fit reading into our busy schedules? You see, one of the great advantages of books is that, no matter what escapade you are on, you can pause it.

Open a book when you have a spare moment and close it when you don’t.

No one said you had to read it in one sitting, but I encourage you to read all the same.

Reading is a cycle. Wisdom is passed down from author to character and then to reader, only to start all over again, but in an entirely new form. You go on these journeys and, in a way, you take on another life. You learn from characters’ mistakes and you get the chance to see from someone else’s point of view.

I think George R. R. Martin, author of the famous A Song of Ice and Fire series, said it best: “I have lived a thousand lives, and I’ve loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read.”

Books feed the mind and the soul. Eat up!

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