Why Reading, Alone, Isn’t the Best Mental Workout

Mental Fitness, Quotations

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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. – Albert Einstein

This quote kind of seems to fly in the face of everything we’ve clung to for years, doesn’t it?  But before we write Albert Einstein off as a quack, let’s really think about the truth of this quote.  We all know how important creative thinking is for mental fitness.  When we stop thinking for ourselves and stop trying to figure things out creatively and on our own terms… we’re in serious trouble.

Never allow yourself to become so enthralled with reading (or, well, anything for that matter) that it’s your only source of “input”.  Never become so engorssed in your daily reading (newspapers, blogs, e-mails, magazines… even Dean Koontz) that you forget to think for yourself!  Make it a point, each and every day, to exercise the  creative corners of your own mind, don’t just rely on the fruits of other’s minds.

Begin keeping a journal or even start a blog!  If you already have a blog, post articles more often – even if it’s giving your opinion on a particular subject.  You’ll be getting in touch with your own thoughts and with your own creative side and I can’t tell you how much your brain will love you for it!  The brain thrives on new things.  When you read for hours upon hours, you may think you’re feeding your brain everything it needs when, in fact, you’re lulling it to sleep and boring it to death!

Is reading bad?  No way!  Not even close.  However, many people fall back on reading and “obtaining” information – they rely entirely on reading to strengthen their brain.  Big mistake.  We have to be interactive with mental fitness.  Below are a few ways to strengthen your brain and give your mind the workout it actually craves.

  • Learn new things.  Push yourself to learn how to do something new.  Don’t just read about new things – experience new things.  Reading is wonderful and, by no means, should you cut it out of your daily activities.  However, for true mental fitness, you need to actively pursue new activities and physically DO and/or CREATE new things.
  • Keep a journal.  Don’t just read what others write, get on the other side of the words.  It’s a wonderful way to exercise your creativity.
  • Work jigsaw puzzles.
  • Work Sudoku puzzles.
  • Work crossword puzzles.
  • Take up a new sport.
  • Take different routes to/from work.
  • Take up a new language.
  • Learn to play an instrument.
  • Take up cooking!  Watch the food network, buy some cookbooks, and get in the kitchen and amaze yourself.
  • Go new places – don’t just read about them!

Also, an extra note about reading:  If the books you read are all fiction, you really aren’t doing your brain any favors.  I love a great novel – I’ve read just about every Agatha Christie book as well as most by Dean Koontz, Nicholas Sparks, and John Grisham – however, keep in mind that these books are more entertainment than they are educational.

To really give your mind a great workout, you have to be more interactive with life – not just read about it!

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