Dubai, UAE: Are you having problems focusing and concentrating on work? Are you low on confidence? Do you think work gets monotonous and exhausts you mentally and physically? If yes, then one practice that will solve all these issues is reading. Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
In fact, in order to achieve the country’s vision of a knowledge-based economy, the UAE government also passed the national reading law for encouraging the nation to pick up a book. The law makes it legal for workers to take breaks from work to read.
Also the year 2016 has been earmarked as the ‘Year of Reading’ in the UAE to promote the reading culture in the country amongst students and residents. The aim is mooted to consolidate UAE’s position as a global capital for knowledge and culture
“I think that the new law is one of the greatest and I am quite positive that it will be marked as a historical achievement for generations to come. Why? Because studies show that reading not only improves the overall human health, but also helps better the quality of thinking and living of the group which practises it collectively as a culture. For example, a study in 2006 showed that half an hour of reading a day is better for reducing stress than music and other traditionally known relaxing strategies,” said Dr Mohammed Wafeek Eid, consultant psychiatrist, Medcare.
Research on reading fiction shows that many skills needed for increasing productivity levels are improved due to reading. These include self discipline, focus, time management and creativity. “Moreover, every new language we read in adds new layers to our innovation,” said Dr Eid.
Dr Sreekumar V. Nair, psychiatrist at NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Nahda, Dubai, said: “Reading breaks can help improve our endurance and help us continue working. Taking a break helps to break the monotony of work, but unlike other break-time activities, reading keeps the brain active in a way that helps us to focus back on work much easier and faster.”
Positive effects of reading
Elaborating about the advantages of reading breaks, Dr Nair said: “Reading breaks will improve productivity. Taking a break helps the body and mind to recharge and focus back on work. Taking multiple short breaks is more beneficial than a single long break as short breaks don’t allow the body and mind to even reach a point of fatigue.”
So what happens to our brain when we read?
“When we read, different areas of brain connect and relays in a way which enhances focusing, attention, concentration and improved memory. Regular reading also helps prevent the age-related memory impairment,” Dr Nair said.
“Research shows that reading reduces the level of stress hormone, thereby helping us relax. Reading helps us understand others better and cope with negative emotions like anger and jealousy. This has a positive effect on our self-esteem and confidence. We are able to analyse situations and make intelligent decisions.
“Hence it improves our problem solving skills. Also, psychologically it helps us to be more calm and composed and be in control of ourselves.”
It is also very important to note that many studies today advise us to go back to books and reduce our reading from smart devices. Up to 80 per cent of information we read from bright screens are prone to be forgotten while from a book, only 20 per cent is susceptible to be lost.
‘Reading is healing’
Under the auspices of the Dubai Health Authority and Government of Dubai, Medcare Women and Children Hospital hosted an interactive reading session led by Amirah Al Marzouqi, an award winning Emirati author. As part of the “Reading is Healing” initiative, the author captured the imagination of young children by sharing excerpts from her book ‘Waraaqt Al Hayat’. The session saw participation of children aged 5-12 years, accompanied by their parents.
© Khaleej TimesNov 2016