A couple of studies have shown that creativity is a key ingredient to a long, happy and mentally agile life. One reason may be that in the act of creating, the brain draws on a variety of networks and, in doing so, builds new neural connections. Studies also show that creative people are more likely to see stressful situations as challenges rather than obstacles and so suffer less from anxiety. (“Open Mind, Longer Life” by Tori Rodriguez, Scientific American Mind, Sept/Oct. 2012 pg. 18.)
Many people believe they haven’t a creative bone in their body, but fortunately, one doesn’t have to be a Hemingway or a Picasso to reap the same benefits as artists. Studies show that reading broadens the mind. In books, people encounter situations outside their ordinary frames of reference. They identify with characters who are different from themselves. The experience expands readers’ empathy and reduces stereotyping. (“You Are What you Read,” by Daisy Yuhas, Scientific American Mind, Sept/Oct, 2012 pg. 18.)
The lovely side benefit of reading is that it’s fun as well as good for you. Frankly, I’d rather lift a load of books than bar bells. Who knew the library was a health club?
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