By Tabi Slick

A few weeks ago I read an interesting article on the brain and how reading fiction improves our social skills and ability to empathize with other people. Then, yesterday I read a book by a psychologist on reading that said that the rush we get when we're swept up into a new story is triggered by dopamine.

I remember this rush well. However, I also remember college and how hundreds of boring pages were forced upon me making me dread to read. All of this got me thinking about that time when reading was fun, when our brains craved to read more, and wondered if it was possible to ever get back to that?

Reading is still something I do, but it's definitely a different feeling than when I was younger. Perhaps this is because my brain still subconsciously associates reading with reading with a chore. Part of this could be the story because I have read a few books in the last year that really grip
ped me while others were sort of a bore. But I have to take some responsibility if my brain is preventing me from being entertained. Which is a real thing!

Which is one of the many reasons cognitive behavioral therapy exists. In the article 5 Ways To Retrain Your Brain Into A Positive Powerhouse by Nicole Graham it says that in order to make our brains turn what it once thought to be a negative into a positive, it says to make a list of all the benefits you'd get from doing the thing you want to enjoy and then revisit it whenever you're feeling low.

Why not do one now? What could you gain from reading a book today? If you made reading a habit, what sort of positives would you be able to experience? Write them down and share with us in the comments below!

Here's mine:

1) Being swept up into another world for a little while
2) Learn a new skill or technique
3) Relate to others better
4) Become a better writer

I probably could go on, but I'll keep this list short for now. Well, I'm off to go read and write. I can't wait to find out what's on your list!

TABI SLICK is an award-winning author of paranormal and historical fantasy. Her works include: "Tompkin's School: For The Extraordinarily Talented", "Tompkin's School: For the Dearly Departed", the novella "Unforgivables", and "Timur's Escape". When she's not writing, she's often found either researching or with her nose stuck in a book. 


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  1. It's worth noting that many visitors to this page are likely engaged in impulsive, exploratory, dopamine-creating reading as they read this very comment! The difference between social/blogs and long-form reading like fiction books are well-known and often discussed. I suspect that the absorbed way many people read short-form content could be a good model for avoiding or improving fruitless 'work' reading!

    1. Agreed! Perhaps a similar reaction to reading fiction can be reproduced in reading blogs and articles for fun. As a writer of books, however, I'm more inclined to focus on the former ;)


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