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The Surprising Benefits of Poetry

Poetry is so old that even the best historians aren’t quite sure just how far back it goes. Predating recorded history, poetry has been a great way for us to express ourselves through written and spoken word while becoming the backbone for what would become modern music. Simply put, poetry is beautiful and in modern times we tend to underestimate its value. Poetry isn’t just something fun to listen to or write, but it also has a slew of benefits in your life. Here are some of the surprising benefits that you get from poetry.

5. Stimulates the Brain

Have you ever gotten goosebumps from listening to a really good song that resonated with you? The exact same thing happens when we listen to or read poetry. It turns out that the stimulation that you get from reading poetry is great for your brain health, as the right hemisphere is triggered. This can help to improve your overall cognitive function, including memory, in your part of the brain that may get bogged down with the monotony of life. Not only that, but poetry can actually help to improve your intelligence.

4. Time to Relax

For the same reasons that poetry helps to stimulate your brain, it also helps you to relax. Studies have shown that poetry is a natural way to reduce stress and promote sleep. Because of this, poetry is being used in high stress areas such as centers for those that have fought in war, as well as hospitals. Even reading your poetry to others can induce a feeling of stress, but once you’ve gotten up there and shared your poems, you’ll feel less anxious and stressed overall.

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3. Expand Your Worldview

We don’t often get to see the views of someone else on the other side of the world. Obviously, we can do that with an autobiography or something similar, but it can be too long for the average person. Because of that, poetry is an easily digestible way to understand the way the world and other cultures work. Try reading poetry from other countries and you’ll feel more cultured and aware of others’ situations.

2. Ease Suffering

It seems that poetry is there for us when we need it the most, with it being the go-to for those that are going through trauma such as the death of a loved one. There is likely a poem that deals with exactly what you’re going through in life, and it helps you to find something that’s relatable and make things easier. Psychiatry professor Dr. Norman Rosenthal said that after moving to another country, he found a poem that helped and wanted to see if there were more. “I found many others that did,” he said.

1. Language Learning

One of the best ways to learn your own native language as a child is through poetry, and it’s also among the easiest to learn a new language. Poetry not only teaches you about sentence structure, but also gives you words to use that you may not have known before. Companies that teach people new languages often use poetry, including Babbel. “Parsing through and digesting a poem can be a more bite-sized activity,” the company said, noting that it’s easier than starting a book that will go unfinished.

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