The noun/verb, “Read”, has about 41 definitions in Dictionary.com.
My mind was just blown after finding that out! If the word itself has this so many definitions, then it must mean, the word itself can be used for so much more. We all know this for a fact that reading comes second nature to us. Unfortunately, as humans, we sometimes tend to overlook the importance of what comes natural to us. We get too confident and disregard basic skills in our own ways without even really realizing it. To read, so basic of skills, yet so challenging to master.
I believe, however, that in everything we can do, big or small, we can get some sort of benefit, or even better, learn from it. such as using “Reading as a Stress Reliever”. READ on! 🙂
Cortisol, our fight or flight hormone, or stress hormone, can be seen with all mammals and is the chemical that keeps us alive. It alerts us and keeps us safe. It heightens our senses, raises our heart beats, and keeps us alert. The only thing is that, it cannot stay in our body. Too much of it can cause diseases such as diabetes or irregular heart beat. That’s why it needs to go, or reduced, almost as quickly as it comes
First off, I want to say that stress is not entirely bad. Have you heard anybody say “I work better under pressure”? This is true to some people. The adrenaline that flows through the body and mind under stress is amazing. But as with a lot of things in our lives, too much of anything could be bad. We want stress to get in, and get out. That feeling you are left with after the stress has gone, that feeling of relief, satisfaction, and accomplishment, are because of these “happy” brain chemicals, called endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin.
I am going to use endorphins and dopamine as examples in this article, since they are chemicals that we can produce just by ourselves, while serotonin(the leadership chemical) and oxytocin(released when others do good for you- love, trust, friendship), need outside stimulus to be triggered. Understand though that these four chemicals are closely related to each other in terms of feeling good about ourselves.
Endorphins are released to mask physical pain. A good example of this is what we call, “Runner’s High”, also called “endorphin rush”. This is when runners run for a long time and push the body to its limits, feeling great during the exercise without any pain, until later. You feel the pain again when all of your endorphins are spent. You know how it hurts when you laugh too much? Yup, those are your endorphins running out.
Dopamine is the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction about a set goal(s). When you complete a task(s) for the day, or week, or month, or even year, that wonderful feeling of awesomeness is the surge of dopamine coursing through your brain. It feels good, but also highly addictive. Alcohol and nicotine are just some other examples that release dopamine. Even your cellphone releases dopamine. Too much of anything, could be bad for you and hence, there always needs to be a balance.
In Thomas Oppong‘s Article, “The Reading Brain (Why Your Brain Needs You to Read Every Day)”, if “Blood flows to different neural areas depending on how reading is conducted”, is it possible that some of these neural areas release endorphins and dopamine? Maybe that’s also why you feel what the characters in a certain book feel? Or get upset and angry upon reading a literature that you do not agree with?
There are endorphins involved when a person who is in pain, is given a book to read, and eventually forgets about the pain while reading. Now, the pain will most likely come back again after reading the book, or in the middle of the book, but for that first five minutes, or even five seconds, that the pain was gone, cortisol left the body for a brief moment. That, my friends, is a small victory. I count those. Such is the same in finishing a book, an article (this article maybe?), a newspaper or magazine, or any piece of literature for that matter, that feeling of accomplishment, as you know it, is our dopamine being released.
Our brain affects many aspects of our body–it is truly remarkable! Who knows what other reactions our body and mind can experience with the right piece of literature?
From reading, we can reduce stress through the utilization of information gathered.
Whenever there is a test coming up, whether it may be written, verbal, or practical, or any other tests for whichever purpose, don’t we prepare for it by studying? Studying reduces your stress as you gain knowledge although it does not disappear completely. This is a sign that you are now prepared. You are now ready to take your test.
When we want to find out about a certain product, a person, a place, or event–really, if there is anything under the sun and beyond it that you want to know more about, the first two things that a person usually does is to ask somebody who knows about that particular topic, or to do some research about it. If there is research, there will be reading. Where there is reading, there is learning. Where there is learning, there is knowledge. When you have knowledge, you can set your mind at ease. A well-read student, when called upon, will have lesser stress than that of a student who did not read his/her assignment.
Reading works well with other skills. Is there a skill you’re interested to learn? Read up about it and let that dopamine flow.
You never know what you might just find out about yourself as you read.
It feels awesome learning something new every day, let alone new skills to add to your skill set, in which you can use when that special opportunity comes up.
Let us look at some factors in our lives that can cause stress. Pretty much everything, right? That’s because it’s true! Everything around us can be a source of stress. If stressors are everywhere, then wouldn’t it be nice to have a stress reliever ready at hand when a such an event is triggered?
Maybe that’s why people carry with them their books during travel. To be ready at all times. Like a boy scout, “Always Be Prepared”.
I carry a book with me whenever I know that I’m going to travel or going to be in long waits. I dislike waiting and it stresses me out. That’s when I would open my book to escape the world for a little bit. To calm me down. To reduce my stress and anxiety.
There are many things you can get from reading. As it is so easy to do, it is also difficult to master.
Reading is such a pleasure to do, and that helps me reduce my stress and anxiety. It keeps my brain activated as neurons are constantly triggered every time a literature of interest catches my attention. Reading is just one of many things that we can do to reduce our stress and anxiety, and it is highly encouraged.
The challenge is to read, and to read deeply.
Reading is amazingly powerful. It can change minds, change hearts, change ideas. It can build hope, build relationships, develop one’s social and personal well-being. It can improve many aspects of our lives.
Be a wide reader. You just might never know what you might find out.
The one with knowledge and wisdom is one with a calm mind.
BY JOYCE KILMER
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.