If we want our brains to continue to grow as we age, we need to stimulate fresh brain pathways. Learning something totally new will produce those new neurons and synapses needed to store new skills.
Begin by thinking about what you’ve always wanted to do – but never had the time:
- Play the cello?
- Write poetry?
- Master party bridge?
- Open a gourmet restaurant?
- Speak a new language?
- Learn to ride a unicycle?
Deciding what you want to do is the easy part. The next step is tougher – finding a learning resource: a community center, a college or university, a private tutor, a music school music or store. Then you have to pay some money and actually get enrolled, followed by venturing into a new setting and meeting new people.
That’s when you discover that learning anything new can be a very humbling experience. Unfortunately, there is a general and wide-spread misbelief that learning is best left to youngsters who have a “clean slate” to begin acquiring new skills. You friends might say, “Sorry pal. If you didn’t learn to play the cello in grade school, you missed the boat.”
Be consoled in knowing that a growing body of research suggests learning a new skill can enhance emotional well-being, brain health, cognition, and even hearing functions. And your new skill is something you can enjoy for decades into the future and be healthier to beat.
And another advantage: we live in a day and age of electronic wonders, so don’t forget other resources:
- You Tube videos
- Computer programs
- Cell phone apps
- Tablets that let you decide the font size to make things easier to read. And one more advantage of being an adult learner, as opposed to a kid? You have more self-discipline, patience, and control of your time. So learn and enjoy.