Humans have a long-lasting relationship with storytelling. Before written symbols were invented and people started committing words to paper, it was the word-of-mouth that traversed history and connected generations. All original myths and worldviews were spun into stories which were carried across distances and through time.
Even now, our introduction to language and collective knowledge of the world and the meaning of things in it starts with our parents, teachers and the like, our current-day elders, telling us stories. It is not surprising that hearing others’ voices reading to us is so visceral and empowering. Sarah Rayner in her article for Psychology today summarizes the benefits of listening to audiobooks that are currently having a cultural moment.
Audiobooks have the same benefits as reading because our brains are stimulated the same way regardless of how we consume the stories, provide us with means to self-soothe, make sense of the world, and make use of our auditory senses in the world that is largely saturated by visual images which results in overstimulation and fatigue. Especially in the post-pandemic world, we are all most likely tired of staring at screens of various sizes. Audiobooks engage our senses and our intellect without having us strain our eyes.
Audiobooks help us de-stress and reduce negative thinking which leads to anxiety and depression. Listening requires our attention which can help break us from negative thoughts. This allows us to disconnect for a bit and maybe even prevent those negative thoughts from taking root and growing.
Finally, listening allows us to step into other people’s experiences and grows empathy and imagination. In a world filled with echo chambers and targeted content, it is hard to experience what others may be going through. Audiobooks allow us to step into the worlds of others and learn about their lives. And perhaps it is worthwhile to turn on your listening ears to stop turning your blind eye to others’ experiences.
Feature Image: Joyce Busola, On Unsplash, On Creative Commons