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The link between lifelong learning and wellbeing

This week I received an eagerly awaited new herbal medicine book which I’ve been dipping into all week. #FunctionalHerbalTherapy. #KerryBone.

One of the main reasons I love books is for the learning you can gain from them. Whether non-fiction or fiction you can learn about people, places, culture, different periods in history, attitudes of the time, how-to skills and knowledge on any topic.

Continuous learning throughout life is a key component of wellbeing. Learning doesn’t have to be formal and it doesn’t have to come from books. Learning can come from a variety of contexts including the home, leisure activities, workplace and educational institutions.

Why make learning a lifelong habit?

There are numerous studies which show that continual learning throughout life helps improve and maintain our wellbeing

It can:

  • be fun, making you feel happy

  • foster connections with others helping you feel supported and included

  • increase self-confidence and self esteem

  • make you more adaptable to change and therefore more resilient

  • reduce stress and anxiety

  • be relaxing or stimulating depending on the activity and your need

  • make new neural pathway connections in your brain to help enhance memory

  • help delay Alzheimer’s symptoms thereby preserving quality of life

  • make you more interesting to yourself and others

  • challenge and broaden your views, ideas and beliefs helping you enjoy life more

  • make you less risk averse therefore less nervous and anxious

  • and, if you set a goal for your learning and achieve it, you’ll get a boost of self-satisfaction and feel motivated to tackle other things.

How to make learning a lifelong habit

Think about learning in a broad way. You can gain learning from books, magazines, podcasts, videos, formal and informal courses, coaching / mentoring, volunteering, starting or progressing in a hobby /craft, making a career change, taking on a new responsibility at work or in a club, travelling, visiting museums and galleries, researching your family tree, learning a new language, learning how to play an instrument and learning how to do your own DYI tasks for example.

Continual learning resources

There are many free online learning resources. You can find a good list here.

Over to you

You’re never too old to learn something new.

What you will learn this week, month, year?


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