Food for the Brain

food for the brainWhat are you feeding your brain?

Try a good book. It`s food for the brain.

Curling up with an old-fashioned paper-bound book is like having a healthy home-cooked meal surrounded by old friends, dear family and interesting new guests. You are nourishing your mind with knee-slapping humour, deep conversations and a feast of new ideas. It’s quality time for your mind that opens you up to being a kinder and wiser person. And it’s not just the writer in me saying this.

Canadian researchers have found that people who regularly read fiction demonstrated an ability to better understand and empathize with others. Now you might think that more empathetic people just happen to be more voracious readers, but researchers from York University and the University of Toronto factored this into their study and the link between reading fiction and empathy remained.

So if reading literary fiction is a gourmet meal to feed the brain, what does that make all the time we spend “reading” on our devices? We are gorging ourselves on mental junk food. But it is so hard to resists because the packaging is brilliant. It’s got movement, bright flashy colors, pictures and videos of movie stars caught doing mundane activities. It’s got eye-catching teasers and headlines that make you want to click. But everything is in snippets, a half a page of reading or less, and all sorts of other flashing bits and bobs winking at you on the side – ready to take you down the path of ingesting more mental garbage.

In our fast-paced world, some could argue that this shallow reading is at least still reading. But I would hope for less shallowness in our society and more depth of character in all of us. So let’s dig deep and stretch the depths of our humanity. It’s as simple as picking up a book.

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