This is a public service announcement. I will admit this is not my best article ever, nor is it 100% relevant to the rest of this website. It’s just something I have been thinking about as of late.
So anyway, we all should be reading. Women/men/adults in general. And when I say reading I do not mean the articles we post on Facebook. I mean actual writing in the form of books or periodicals.
Since I cannot count, I should probably brush up on my math skills. You will notice there are 4 sections of this post as opposed to the 3 in the title!
I realize that sitting down and reading a book when you have ADHD can be a bit challenging. (to say the least.) But if you haven’t already noticed, there is some buzz around the idea of reading as a way to give your brain a workout and improve cognitive function as you age.
I did not find any published research into how reading benefits those of us with ADHD, believe me I looked. Despite the lack of research I am pretty determined to work through it on my own. Though I run the risk of sounding like a high school science teacher, I have my own little hypothesis about how reading is highly beneficial for adults with ADHD.
I was able to find some interesting articles about the benefits of reading for the general population. Apparently, Freud used literature during psychoanalysis. Ever heard of Bibliotherapy?
I had never heard of it either until I read this article in the New Yorker by Ceridwen Dovey. <Link> The article explains how bibliotherapy works and Ms. Dovey’s personal experience with bibliotherapy through the The School of Life.
I read the article like 3 times, my thoughts racing:
I should be a bibliotherapist!// I have understood the therapeutic value of books for at least the last 15 years.// Reading has always been my go-to when I need to crawl into my own cave for a bit.//The ADHD thing never really goes away does it?
Snapping back into reality – here are
3 4 compelling reasons why you need to start reading (whether you have ADHD or not):
Reading Makes You Feel Less Alone In The World
As Dovey explains in the New Yorker article, when reading, “the distance between the self and the universe shrinks.” It really does if you think about it. You are entering another plane of existence when you read, stepping into the life of a different being and seeing through their eyes.
You are invited to enter the mind of the author who wrote the words on the page, and you are engaging in a shared activity with every other person who has read the same piece of material. Reading allows you to create a movie in your mind – complete with characters and scenes and emotions. That movie in your mind is unique to you, nobody else generates the exact same mental imagery.
[ctt title=”Where can you find something mind-altering, addictive and legal? In a book.” tweet=”Where can you find something mind-altering, addictive and legal? In a book.” coverup=”vN3qr”]
Books Keep Your Mind Sharp
Recent studies have indicated that reading helps to improve memory retention in older folks. <Link> Adults with ADHD often have memory issues that have nothing to do with aging, so I would think that grabbing a good book would certainly benefit us as well.
Reading, along with other cognitive activities, has also been shown to reduce the likelihood of Alzheimers disease and dementia. <Link> Now, the study I reference here actually showed that activity in general, both physical and mental, seemed to lessen the risk. That leads me to believe that my original stance on the benefits of physical activity for those of us with ADHD applies, too.
My point here is that cognitive activities – things that make you think – are actually good for your brain. Movement and increased blood flow is also good for your brain.
[ctt title=”I don’t know about you but I am all about preserving what function my brain has, I cannot afford to lose any of those precious neural pathways.” tweet=”I don’t know about you but I am all about preserving what function my brain has, I cannot afford to lose any of those precious neural pathways.” coverup=”bXl3t”]
Besides, even Oprah agrees with me. That means something, right? <Link>
Reading “Quiets The Noise”
If you have ADHD, you probably have so many thoughts in an hour that most of them get shoved to the dusty dark corners of your mind. It’s so frustrating! I keep picturing a creepy attic full of my thoughts and ideas gathering dust.
I’ll tell you what, much of that noise fades into the background when you read. I am not the only ADHD’er who feels this way. <Link> Maybe this is because reading requires so much of your consciousness, I don’t know. But I can guarantee you will feel more relaxed after just 10 minutes of reading.
On the topic of relaxation, I read an article that explained how a few minutes of reading actually relieves stress. Your heart rate slows down and your breathing becomes more regular. <Link> In fact, reading “brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm as meditation.” <Link>
If you are not sold yet, I have one more reason.
Reading Is An Escape
You know how when you watch trash TV you feel completely content for like 10 minutes at a time? Like the problems in your life are forgotten for just that little sliver of time?
That is because of some complicated electrical stuff in your brain like alpha waves, and chemicals like dopamine. Believe it or not, you can get the same feel-good sensation from reading.
One of the things I personally love about reading is the fact that there are endless possibilities. There are books about everything imaginable. Classic fiction, young adult fiction, horror, mystery, biographies, politics…the list is endless. With reading there truly is something for everyone.
Ideas to help you get started:
Try books on CD in the car or podcasts first, ease into it.
Set a timer and read for just a few minutes, start small.
Read for 10 minutes each day for one week.
Choose books based on your interests, likes, and dislikes.
Look at reading as part of your self-care routine.
Then shoot me an email telling me what you think. Do you feel more calm and centered? How is your memory doing? Let me know!
Do you agree that reading is good for ADHD?
In what other ways has reading impacted your life?