Learning Something New

Ah September.

Back to school. Back to work. Back to routine? But it doesn’t have to be back to the same routine. Which is why this month’s topic or challenge is learning something new. Whether it’s practicing a new language, picking up a new hobby like cooking or unicycling, trying new things can boost brain power and happiness. Have you ever seen your friend doing something that you wanted try? Well here are some good reasons to get started.

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1)    Increase your happiness

When you start to master something new, you increase your happiness as it contributes to your own confidence and abilities. You feel more creatively inspired and may even go into flow state by being completely absorbed in the challenge of learning something new. Plus it’s just fun. 

2)    Make your brain smarter or more “plastic”

When you learn something new, your brain has the chance to make new connections and reorganize, thereby building neuroplasticity. In order to connect and reconnect, our brain cells need to be stimulated by focused activity, such as learning something different. This helps us make faster and more connections in our brain, making us all the more creative individuals. 

3)    Healthy aging

Another benefit of learning for the brain is its contribution to brain health and longevity. Similar to how we exercise to keep our bodies healthy, we must also exercise our brain to keep our minds healthy. Studies have been done to show how the support of mental activity can help keep Alzheimer’s and other brain degenerative diseases at bay. This engagement also provides us with a sense of purpose as we get older.  

4)    Expand your network

Finally learning can also help introduce you to other people as well as getting you to think differently. For example, taking different courses in college outside of your major or department will introduce you to new people, new ideas and new social circles. You don’t have to be just an “engineering” or “arts” student. The same can be said for joining a new group like a hiking club or enrollment in a photography class, all allowing us more connection with our community. 

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