Why learn a new skill?
As we grow older our brains tend to be less stimulated. With decreased stimulation we can lose mental clarity. It has even been researched that decreased mental stimulation may lead to mental illnesses later in life.
So when was the last time you took the time for yourself to learn a new skill? Not just a physical skill such as Olympic lifting, but a mental skill which could be infinite in progression?
Skills such as;
- Playing an instrument
- Speed reading
- Memory skills
- A new language
Skills such as these when practised enough lead to increases in brain activity, and there is generally no excuse to have enough ‘time’. Five minutes a day is all it takes and can yield outstanding compounding effects both mentally and physically.
There are old myths that once we reach a certain age our brains stop ‘growing’ leading to the inevitable decline in our capacity to learn. Simply put, this is not true.
Ever heard this word?
Basically, neuroplasticity refers to structural and functional changes in the brain that happen as a result of new experiences. Because of the plasticity of the brain, also referred to as neuroplasticity, the brain can “rewire” and “re-organize” itself after brain damage as new connections are formed and neural pathways to damaged brain areas are terminated.
Pretty cool hey, our brains are so amazing they can literally heal themselves from damage, or increase mental capacity even when no damage has occurred.
This occurs through the stimulation of neurons in the brain, as we learn, new neurons are formed creating more pathways for the brain to send and receive messages. As more pathways are formed the faster information can travel.
If you are interested in learning more about the topic of neuroplasticity we have some epic books recommendations.
- The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge
- The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity by Norman Doidge
- Self-directed Neuroplasticity, Rick Hanson
- Principles of Neuroplasticity-based Rehabilitation, Michael Merzenich, Mor Nahum and Hyunkyu Lee
- My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor
- The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force by Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley
- The Stress-Proof Brain: Master Your Emotional Response to Stress Using Mindfulness & Neuroplasticity by Melanie Greenberg
A new skill can yield outstanding compounding effects both mentally and physically.