There seems to come a time every winter quarter where the dismal weather, flu season, and shorter days all seem to come together to form a perfect storm, often times when its least convenient for school schedules.
Unless you are a major skier or snowboarder, it can seem harder to find an escape from stress during this time of the year in Bellingham.
Every day it is too cold to go out and do something fun, it can seem like an excuse to stay in and watch Netflix, play video games, or mindlessly stare into your smartphone.
Binge watching successive television series or endlessly scrolling through social media streams might seem like the simple and easy method to de-stress, since you can just sit back and resort to a vegetative state.
However, recent studies done by neuropsychologists have shown that it may be worth reintroducing another, more old-fashioned, way of relaxing at the end of a day; reading a book.
Here are some reasons to read that are backed by science, in case you were ignoring parents and teachers and neglecting your imagination this entire time.
In 2013, an experiment done at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago concluded that more cognitive activity done throughout life will result in a slower mental decline later in life.
This experiment was published in the journal Neurology and backs up research published in 2001 that reading can help people stay mentally sharp long-term, and can even prevent Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
So, even though the special effects are really cool in novel-based movies, those who read the book scientifically have a better chance at remembering, not only how the story went, but also, well,
“The brain is an organ just like every other organ in the body. It ages in regard to how it is used,” neurologist Dr. Robert P. Friedland told USA Today.
“Just as physical activity strengthens the heart, muscles and bones, intellectual activity strengthens the brain against disease,” Friedland continued.
Further research was done at the University of Sussex in England regarding reading as a form of relaxing, compared to other at-home recreational practices. Reading reduced subjects’ stress by 64 percent, where video games only reduced stress by 21 percent.
So next time it’s too cold to go to visit the beautiful Whatcom outdoors, or to enjoy downtown Bellingham culture, consider and picking up a book instead of grabbing the TV remote when resorting to staying in.
The weather will warm up and flu season will end soon enough, but until then remember what Dr. Seuss said: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”