By Tracy Granzyk MS

First Posted at Educate the Young on 1/24/2014

Tracy Granzyk MS, Managing Editor, Educate the Young
Tracy Granzyk MS, Managing Editor, Educate the Young

We live in a time of information overload with amazing new tools to generate unlimited content, yet no reliable off-switch to know when to say when. A time when we seem to have little of it– bombarded with messages, information, advertising, emails, text messages, twitter feeds, facebook posts and more. Until someone creates an app with a more efficient way to sort the wheat from the proverbial chaff, grabbing the lastest best seller or classic novel can not only provide an escape from the onslaught of information, but also a rewiring of the brain, according to a recent @Fast Company article, Why You Should Read More Novels, by @shaunacysays. Experts share:

“The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist,” says neuroscientist Gregory Berns, the study’s lead author. “We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

On more than one occasion, we have discussed how good stories inspire change by pulling us in on an emotional level (see How Do Great Storytellers Evoke Empathy) . Yes, cute kitties go viral before the latest data on chronic disease. But give that kitty to a 9-year-old girl whose best friend just moved away, stick the kitty up a tree and show Dad begging the fire chief to look at the “big picture” versus the risk of climbing an icy oak tree in sub-zero, January winds…well then, yes, you have a greater chance of fully engaging your audience. Stories like this, it appears, are engaging readers at the cellular level. But is this surprising? It has long been said words can hurt, but we’re only beginning to understand the true power words, and collectively, stories can hold to inspire change.