"What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing? The answer begins with changes to our chemistry. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them."
“As long as you read in a nice soothing voice, they enjoy it,” said Hildy Benick, 69, a volunteer who has been with the reading program since shortly after it started, in late 2013.
Ms. Wells got the idea for the program after years of playing guitar — mostly Beatles songs — to recovering dogs. “Not everyone knew how to do that, and I wanted to come up with something anyone could do,” she said.
The benefits of reading are hard to measure since the dogs also get a full range of training and behavioral therapy. But it makes a difference, Ms. Wells said.
“You know within each session the progress that they’re making,” she said. “In the beginning of the session, the dog might be in the back of their kennel cowering, and then they move forward, lie down, relax; their tail might wag.”
But if you’re a low self-monitor, you’re guided more by your inner states, regardless of your circumstances. In one fascinating study, when a steak landed on their plates, high self-monitors tasted it before pouring salt, whereas low self-monitors salted it first. As the psychologist Brian Little explains, “It is as though low self-monitors know their salt personalities very well.”
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