Dealing with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be overwhelming. The best part of that sentence is the phrase “dealing with.” I know from experience that TBI can indeed be dealt with. A delightful way to do it? Read! It’s brain injury by the book.
Brain Injury: Books Benefit
A traumatic brain injury can be a pain in the, well, head. Consequences of a brain injury can range from mild to severe. Some are temporary, some can be life-long. TBIs can have physical effects anywhere in the body, emotional/mental health effects, and behavioral effects. Having a pile of favorite books and reading a little every day reduces the negative effects of brain injury.
When I was initially dealing with my own brain injury in 2004, it felt at times like I was no longer the person I had once been. Over the years, I’ve had other people share similar sentiments with me. The brain is our thinking and feeling center, so when it’s injured, of course our thoughts and feelings are affected.
Reading books can actually help the brain heal and help us to think and to feel — better.
To be human means to experience ups and downs, to be injured in many different ways. And, beautifully, to be human means to heal and grow and bloom. Healing happens, and we can be an active part in our own healing process. We have the power to enhance our own wellbeing — even with a TBI.
Brain Injury By the Book: Why Reading Benefits the Brain
Reading books that I loved truly worked well for me (and still does, as brain injury healing is a process rather than an event). Admittedly, it wasn’t so simple at first thanks to difficulty concentrating, processing, shutting out lights and noise and distraction, and more. However, I read every day as part of my healing regimen, and it worked. To help soothe your brain and recover from a brain injury, read a little every single day.
Research in fields such as neuroscience, education, and literacy continues to show us that reading is good for us. It’s good for our brain. Whether or not the brain is injured, reading books helps keep it functioning well.
Among the benefits the brain receives from reading books:
- increased overall intellectual functioning
- increased verbal/language skills
- improved reasoning
- enhanced memory
- improved general functioning and processing
- increased associative learning
- improved concentration
- heightened brain connectivity, communication and processing between different parts of the brain
- reduction in stress
- lowered blood pressure
- decreased muscle tension (good for muscles that might be stiff from injury)
- improved sleep (a reading routine before bed can benefit sleep)
- enhanced soothing (reading a book is quieter, less stimulating than watching TV)
- increased pleasure (books provide an escape, a getaway, a joyful activity key to mental health)
Books Help TBI and Wellbeing
While reading books isn’t an instant cure for a brain injury, doing so is a wonderful way to take charge of your healing every single day. Reading books can exercise the brain and simultaneously soothe it. Reading is something pleasurable to do on a daily basis, too, for pleasure is crucial to mental health and wellbeing. So dealing with brain injury by the book is good for you.
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