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The School of Life: The Benefits of Life-Long Learning

Thought you were done with learning after school? Think again!

Life-long learning has some serious benefits. It’s not just about professional or personal growth and development. Learning new stuff literally changes your brain chemistry - in a good way.

Surprisingly, 74% of American adults think of themselves as “life-long learners.”

To each person, it might be personal - such as nailing down that new yoga move or finally knitting that perfect scarf. Or it could be professional - such as taking courses or seminars to improve your public speaking. You could earn a new language, conquer a new skill, gain some perspective form a podcast or retreat, or do some other kind of self-studying.

There are so many ways to keep learning, long after you’ve graduated with credentials. In fact, you should keep learning. It’s all about brain stimulation, optimal cognitive functioning, and good mental health. But let’s narrow in on those exact benefits.

Why Keep Learning?

1. The more you learn, the better you get at learning.

And ultimately, the more skills and knowledge you acquire. Kind of cool.

Learning stimulates the nerve cells and pathways associated with learning in the brain. It strengthens them and expands them. And, it helps these impulses travel faster, meaning you can process new info all that much quicker.

Plus, it can help you brush up on old skills and maintain new ones. Learn more to, well, learn more!

2. Learning is associated with a higher degree of job success.

Want to kill it in your career? Don’t fall behind. Keep on learning new tricks of the trade and you’ll be able to keep up with your industry or market. It could even lead to that well-deserved raise. 39% of professionals even said they took continued education to get that next promotion or raise.

So, why not? It could make your job that much better.

3. You become a more well-rounded person.

When you’re more well-rounded, you can relate to more people. You can do better because you know better. Talk about some real personal growth and development. Learning new and different things makes you interesting.

This attracts people to you. It creates meaningful relationships. It develops them. And socialization and relationships are incredibly important aspects when it comes to your mental health and well-being.

In other words, learning new things can have a cascading effect in your life - again, in a good way! It gives you things to talk about. It boosts your self-esteem, giving you confidence. From there, you can truly find your version of happy.

4. It helps you adapt to change better.

Everything seems to get a little better when learning is a part of your everyday life. One scientific review in 2012 even argued that with the ever-evolving pace of technology, life-long learning is a must, especially if you plan on keeping up with society.

The review goes onto outline how learning helps with this adaption to change. It makes you open to it. You get used to variation, which isn’t a bad thing (hey, it can also combat boredom!).

5. Learning may help prevent dementia.

Stimulating and using the brain reduces your risk of dementia or age-related neural decline.

In a 2002 review, researchers found that learning and memory tasks may prevent neural damage and decline. In fact, they suggested it may prevent dementia - or at least certain types of dementia - altogether.

Mostly, experts seem to agree that actively using your brain has protective effects against age-related decline when it comes to the brain and nervous system. Keep learning and keep using your noggin’ and you may age a little more gracefully and happily.

6. You gain a new perspective.

Learning fuels new ideas and innovative thinking. And new skills give way to new opportunities. Further, the way that learning impacts your brain opens the doors to new ways of thinking. Maybe you’ll solve a problem in a way you never thought of before. And by finding innovative solutions for these problems, you can perform your job or activity better.

So, What Can You Learn?

Everyone learns differently but it starts with figuring out what you want to learn. Motivation is key if you want to master your goals, so you’re going to want to find something with an incentive or something you truly enjoy.

Professional and personal growth and development come in many forms. You might want to learn better communication to improve your relationship or you may want to indulge in a speech coach to help you learn better ways to deliver a perfect speech. It’s, again, different from person to person.

Personal growth often arises from physical, social, intellectual, or professional learning. Where do you want to improve? Learn something there! Gain more knowledge and gain greater insight. You’ll lead a happier and more fulfilling life because of it.

Related Article: Here’s Why Canadians are So Happy - And How You Can Be, Too

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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