In his book, The Light in the Heart, R T Bennett says
“Great things happen to those who don't stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful.”
When we look at education, many of us tend to think it is something that younger people do, but this is definitely no longer the case. Lifelong learning has become more and more important in the world today.
- People continue to study to improve their job and career prospects.
- People study to retrain for a new job or career. Today, it is estimated that most people will change careers up to 12 times in their lifetime.
But studying is not just about jobs and careers. Studying is also good for our mind and overall wellbeing.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why we should carry on studying throughout lifetimes.
1. Keep your Brain Active
Studying helps to keep your brain active. Research by Rachel Wu of the University of California Riverside had older people in their 60s, 70s and 80s enrol in three college type courses, such as Spanish, music composition, drawing, photography and using an iPad. After six weeks, their scores on a standardised test of memory and thinking were similar to that of a middle aged adult’s scores. This was a significant improvement on their scores prior to the courses starting.
Our brains change as we get older. This doesn’t mean that they stop developing. We can still continue to keep our brains active and operating well by studying. Keeping your brain active makes it easier to maintain our cognitive function. Cognitive function is the activities that our brain undertake and includes –
- Processing speed
- Problem solving
So studying helps us to maintain these essential skills.
2. Increase Your Confidence
As we get older, we may be worried about starting a new course of study.
- can I do it?
- Do I have the time to do it?
- Will I fail?
We’re not always good at everything, but studying can
- help us to find skills we didn’t even know we had
- develop existing skills further
- start new hobbies
Developing new skills and knowledge can help to improve our confidence and abilities.
3. Keep a Routine
Once we retire or cut down on our existing workload, it can be harder to maintain a routine, but studying can give us that. Having a routine is important for our mental and physical wellbeing. Getting up, going out, attending to certain tasks are all essential for our day to day life, throughout our lives. Studying can be another part of that routine, helping us to maintain a balance in our lives.
4. Prevent Decline
Studying can help to prevent further decline and help to reduce the risk of developing conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Learning something new produces new cells and connections in our brain. Research has shown that people who carry on studying have less chance of developing Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia.
5. Get a Reward
As well as growing new cells and developing new connections in our brain, studying can also be rewarding. When we do something we enjoy, our brain produces the same chemicals as it does when we fall in love. They may not be as intense as when we fall in love, but they are positive feelings and help us to develop an emotional connection to what we are studying and enjoying.
6. Know It All Already? Learn Something Else
An ancient Chinese philosopher, Laozi, said,
“If you think you know it all, you know nothing.”
As we age, many of us tend to think that we have been there/done that/seen that/know that. But no one knows everything. We may be an expert in a certain field. An expert gardener, an expert on sci-fi, an expert in psychology. But that doesn’t mean we know everything. Studying can open up the world to us. Learn more about the environment, creative writing, agriculture, animal care, the climate, permaculture. The world is literally your oyster today. There is so much to learn. You could even learn about oysters if you wanted to.
7. Too Old To Learn?
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Right? No, rubbish! You are never too old to learn. Whilst older people do not know everything, they do have a wide range of experiences and ideas below their belt. This tends to make older students more philosophical and reflective.
Today, there are many different ways to learn to fit in with you and your lifestyle. Online and e-learning is a far more flexible way of learning.
- You can study when and where you want to. This means that you can study at a time and location to suit you and fit in with your existing routine.
- You don’t have to study for a formal qualification. You study for whatever reason you want to. You might want a formal qualification. You might want to study to expand your knowledge. You might want to study for fun. You decide.
Studying is good for us throughout our lives. It improves our brains and our self-confidence.
If you want to consider returning to studying or continuing studying, why not have a look at our courses.
We offer over 700 courses.
Remember learning is good for us, and it never has to stop!