You probably know that once you graduate from school, the learning doesn’t stop – it simply takes new forms like friends, family, bosses, great books, documentaries, and even, strangers.
When it comes to the power of your mind, it’s a use-it-or-lose-it situation. Unlike many of our other organs, the brain has the ability to constantly change – a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. New scientific studies show that we’re capable of neurogenesis, a process
New scientific studies show that we’re capable of neurogenesis, a process wherein we create new neurons in certain parts of our brain throughout our lifetime.
These ongoing biological processes mean that we have the power to create physical changes in the cellular structures of the brain, developing new nerve pathways, which can directly result in improved cognitive function, a slowed aging process, and enhanced memory.
Keep your Mind Fresh and Young
Here’s how to fit lifelong learning into your busy schedule:
- Learn What You Want. You’re not in school anymore. There are no rules! Pick any topic that you’re curious about and seek out more information.
- Mastery is Optional. The goal is simply to learn new things and pursue what interests you. There is zero pressure to master or monetize what you learn. This is learning for the sake of learning and nothing more.
- Embrace Challenge. While it’s always delightful to learn new things about subjects that interest you, don’t stop learning simply because difficulty arises. Even if it’s something that you weren’t good at when you were younger, you now have the benefit of approaching the topic with greater clarity and maturity. Try something again for the first time.
- Keep a List. Find something that interests you but are entrenched in something else? Keep an ongoing list of all the things about which you’re curious. When you have free time, you’ll have an easy place to go to expand your mind.
- Do it Again. Remember: use-it-or-lose-it. If you find something that you enjoy and want to continue doing, make time in your schedule to do it. You can still pursue new interests, but if you finally learned to paint, play an instrument, or write poetry, make time for what lights you up.
- Explore How You Learn. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to learning new things, whether in a formal or informal environment. Try exploring adult education programs, lectures at museums and bookstores, languages, crafts, musical instruments, physical activities … the list goes on!
- Explore New Platforms. Khan Academy, TED, and other online destinations are becoming wonderful resources for learning about anything you want. Find a platform you enjoy, and utilize what it offers weekly.
Now that you’re not longer in school, you have the greatest advantage: you can learn anything you want. Pursue what peaks your interest and never stop learning – your mind will appreciate it.
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Adapted from 52 Small Changes for the Mind by Brett Blumenthal. Used with permission from Chronicle Books and author Brett Blumenthal.