Abundant Optimism

Helping people regain and keep an optimistic outlook in challenging circumstances and improve their creativity, mind, and skills.

Are You Reading About THAT Again?

by Tamara Martfeld

One of the easiest ways to improve your mind is by reading. However, how much the mind is improved is determined by the quality and variety of what is read.

Most people read the same types of material on a regular basis. For example, one might read Romance, Autobiography, Mystery, Current Event, OR Business material, just to name a few. The problem is that big “OR”. To improve the mind that big “OR” should be a big “AND”.

It is fine to read whatever you enjoy reading. To improve the mind throw in material from other categories of material every now and then. Start with a small difference if you have hesitation about trying this method of improvement. For example, if all you currently read is Civil War Battle History, try another era of history, an autobiography of your favorite Civil War personality, a historical romance based in the Civil War, or a book on the business practices during the Civil War. If all you read is Current Events, try reading about events similar to what is happening now in history, the autobiographies of people involved in those events, or a romance novel set in current times.

One way I have expanded my reading is by using the links in the material I read on the internet. For example, an article pertaining to mainstream medicine may have a link to a natural remedy, which may have a link to natural healing in general, which may have a link to religions practicing natural healing. Another method I have used is to try every link on a web page I like to see where it takes me. I have discovered many interesting web pages and material which is very far removed from my original topic.

Another way I have expanded my reading is by using the list of reference materials or suggested readings at the back of a book I enjoyed. Many times these lists have little or nothing to do with the book just read.

The expanded reading does not have to be books. It can be articles, poetry, white papers, or magazines pertaining to something other than the current reading material. Anything written is up for grabs.

How does this improve the mind? It improves the mind by expanding your frame of reference, getting you to think about a new topic, and opening up the overall thought process. When you are trying to solve a problem the new material may provide you with an unexpected answer. For example, I hate left-overs and can’t afford to throw away perfectly good food. I read about the pioneers and how they kept a pot of soup on the stove and threw left-overs into the pot each day and started the meals with soup. I used that idea as a base for my Minestrone Soup (see the article “Minestrone Soup for Saving Money” for more information). I was not looking for a solution to my left-over problem when I read about the pioneers, but I found it in that unexpected place. I have also read about several businesses over the years who have used ideas from areas of interest not related to the business to solve problems.

Another reason to add to your reading topics to keep your mind improving is for your health. I have seen research indicating that keeping the mind improving through learning may help prevent the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. I don’t know if it works, but it is worth a try!

Have a wonderful holiday season and a safe and prosperous New Year!