Numerous studies have shown that intellectually engaging activities such as reading or writing poetry can be critical to maintaining our mental acuity and potentially reducing our risk for dementia over our lifetimes. While many activities can provide us with the “stretch” we need to stay sharp and ward off memory loss, engaging with poetic verse is one of my personal favorites.
Why is poetry good for our brains? First, poetry engages our minds. Often we read passively or simply to learn what we need to know. We cannot do this with a poem. By its very nature, a good poem asks us to delve a bit deeper to best discern its intention. Second, poetry gets our creative juices flowing. Whether we read or even choose to write verse, poetry forces us to think out of our own box or experience. Finally, since poems come in all sizes, we can all find a poem to engage with no matter how short we are on time, making it an intellectual exercise that fits all time budgets.
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