Learn Something New in ‘22

Learning new skills is not just about expanding your personal and professional abilities– although it is a great opportunity to do that – it can also improve your quality of life.  Learning something new is exciting, and the process, not just the end result, is enjoyable and rewarding. It exercises your brain and can improve confidence and wellbeing. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. It helps your brain grow stronger

On a physiological level, learning new things is good for your brain. It stimulates neurons, which form more neural pathways and allows electrical impulses to travel faster across them. The combination of these two things gives your brain a workout and actually helps you learn better.

2. It reduces your stress levels

Learning something new will give your brain something to think about other than your daily concerns. By helping you break out of your normal patterns of thought and behaviour you may find that you return to your worries less stressed and with a fresh perspective.

3. It helps you gain more confidence

When you succeed in learning something new you will not only get a feeling of personal satisfaction but also a boost to your confidence. This enhanced level of confidence will help you to tackle all sorts of new tasks and as you succeed at those too, your confidence and self-belief will grow even more.

4. It can improve your mental health

Learning can have a positive impact on your mental well-being because it often involves a sense of purpose, achieving goals and connecting with other people. Gaining a focus and sense of purpose, reaching your goals – be they modest or ambitious – and meeting new people are known to have a positive impact on our sense of wellbeing and mental health.

5. It can help your children learn

Kids learn by example. If they see you excited and interested about learning, you will inspire them to want to learn, too. Depending on the age of your kids you may even want to learn a new skill with them, not only providing you with an opportunity to spend time together but also a shared interest.

If you’re not sure about what you’d like to learn, think about what you used to be enthusiastic about before your ‘real life’ intervened. Perhaps you gave up on an interest to focus on a more secure career path? Well now’s the time to find out if you still have a passion for it. Have you ever had a hobby that fell by the wayside, or one you always wanted to try? Now’s your chance. Would you like to develop skills and expertise to help your career? There is a host of free courses created by experts in their field.

Whatever your motivation, the list below could help you get started, for free.

Learn to draw

Learning to draw is a rewarding experience on its own, but there are plenty of other great reasons to give it a go. Drawing has been proven to offer a wide range of benefits - from improving memory and increasing visual intelligence, to enhancing problem-solving abilities and encouraging mindfulness. Drawspace offers high quality art lessons for all skill levels, designed by experienced art teachers. Their free guided drawing courses include Getting Started with Drawing, and Traditional Drawing.

Learn a new language

Learning a new language can help improve your memory, your communication skills and your confidence. Duolingo is a language-learning website and mobile app, where you can learn over 30 languages for free. The bite-sized lessons take just a few minutes every day and have proven very popular: the platform has 500 million users worldwide.

Learn new skills and expertise

FutureLearn is an online learning platform that was created by Open University to transform access to education. They have partnered with top universities and specialist organisations to create hundreds of free courses in a diverse range of subjects, with more being added regularly. Why not join millions of people from all over the world and sign up for a course today?

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