Why reading is so important to the empowerment movement

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Article provided by Shaherazad Umbreen, Shoe Empowerment Officer, Shoes by Shaherazad and author of innovative toolkit, Each Other

After a long day’s work, what purer pleasure is there than being able to climb into your pyjamas, hunker down under the duvet and lose yourself in a good book?

Books can transport us back in time or to whole other worlds. They can bring us into contact with people whom we could never meet in real life. They can make us laugh or make us cry. Sometimes they can make us do both at the same time.

But books do far more than entertain us. The mighty book has propelled many a woman into professional and personal success through education and learning, of course. But reading, any kind of reading can also build brain power. Let’s take a look at some of the things reading does for our brains…

It empowers and emboldens

Reading non-fiction or business books as well as the biographies of people we admire can be extremely empowering. It can make us realise just how much we are capable of and give us the desire to break outside of our comfort zone.

It can give us the impetus we need to pursue a new career, try our hand at entrepreneurship or perhaps take ourselves back to school to try and earn a new qualification.

It builds empathy

There’s nothing like being able to lose ourselves in a book. It’s like being able to transport yourself inside somebody else’s body. You can see what they see, hear what they hear and feel what they feel. Naturally this helps to build emotional empathy but it also stimulates parts of our brain that make this sense of empathy much more physical.

When we read about a character’s situations, neurons in the temporal cortex create a sensation akin to experiencing the sensations it is describing. That beats any immersive 3D, 4K dolby surround action that modern science can come up with!

It improves the connection within your brain’s circuitry

Ever wonder why girls in school who read regularly tend to do better than those who don’t. It’s not just because of the knowledge contained in the books they read (although that certainly helps). It’s partly due to the act of reading itself. Reading stimulates the brain to create more intellectual matter which helps to improve communication within the brain.

It improves memory

Every book is like a mini-gym for your brain. Every page is a treadmill, every paragraph is a set of dumbells. Reading requires numerous cognitive functions all working together at the same time. Unlike watching TV or films, reading gives us an opportunity to stop and really process the information contained within the pages. This increased mental activity helps to improve and expand upon the brain’s capacity for memory.

So, the next time you pick up a book, remember you’re not just entertaining yourself, you’re also doing something magical to your mind.

Of course, if you should find yourself out of reading material, you’ll always find something of value to read on our brain-boosting and entertaining blog at Shoes by Shaherazad.

My book on women’s empowerment, Each Other: Why Women Must Empower Women is out today (1st March) at Amazon.

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