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Her friend, in her eighties, recently completed an Open University Degree. My Aunt, who is ninety-something but insists on getting out there and seeking new experiences, is equally inspiring!
My Mum has always loved to learn new things. In recent years she has been to French classes and has taken up indoor bowling. At The University of the Third Age, she is brushing up on her chess.
Here are five compelling reasons to explain why what she is doing is an excellent idea.
1. It is good for the brain
Numerous studies show that mental exercise throughout life can reduce cognitive decline and the risk of developing dementia. There is also research to suggest that learning increases longevity and happiness.
I’ve always been a fan of learning new things, in fact, it’s one of my top strengths in the values in action survey.
I realise not everyone finds it as easy though. A key thing to remember is that learning doesn’t have to be in a classroom. It could take many other forms.
For example, learning could be:
professional development through work
learning tied to a passion or interest
via conversations, relationships or travel
from reading a book
Here are some great ways of learning new things without going to school.
1. Listen to podcasts
I use ‘Podcast Player’ for Android to identify inspirational podcasts.
I’ve also listened to instructional blogging podcasts over the last couple of months. These have helped me learn what I needed to get going with the little blog of positivity!
The great thing I find about podcasts is that I can listen to them anywhere. I keep my headphones with me so I can have a little listen wherever and whenever the fancy takes me!
2. Take a class with a friend
Instead of going to the pub, why not enrol in a class?
Pottery, painting, French or researching your family tree. There are loads of options for fun classes to go to.
3. Take an online course
There are literally thousands out there, covering every manner of topic!
I have completed a number of online courses, mainly with Udemy.com who offer excellent value courses on all manner of topics. I have also sometimes also signed up with individual course providers. All the courses I have taken so far have been of very high quality.
4. Listen to a TED Talk
I recently discovered that there are playlists on particular topics.
This also led to involvement in my first collaborative blog post. You can read that here along with reviews of all the videos on the playlist.
As a bit of an aside to today’s topic, I thought I would share my favourite video from the list so far.
Guy Winch starts by talking about the fact that we don’t take care of our emotional health as much as we do our physical health.
He tells a story about a little kid who hurts themselves and knows exactly where to find the band-aids.
We teach kids about how to deal with physical injuries from an early age, but not so much for an emotional injury.
He goes on to talk about some practical ’emotional first aid’ we can easily adopt.
5. Read a book
There is so much you can learn from picking up a good old-fashioned book!
Reading for even a short period of time can dramatically reduce stress levels. As someone who regularly practices meditation, I do find that I can also reach a meditative state when I am reading a book.
“All I have learned, I learned from books.” ― Abraham Lincoln